“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. – Thomas Merton

June 24, 2019

These drawings are from my sketchbook from late 2018 to earlier this month. Looking back as far as November reminds me of some of the ideas that caught my attention for more than a day or so. One of the reasons that I skip warm-up drawings in my sketchbook – other than a shortage of time – is that I can’t think of anything I want to draw. But when I look back, I don’t find the drawings boring – even when I’m looking at the same stack of white cups drawn over and over. And that is what I love about art – the way it makes normal everyday ‘stuff’ seem interesting again – even if it didn’t seem that way when I was drawing it.

“Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

June 3, 2019
For the month of May, rather than have a theme to guide the subject matter of my drawings, I chose to relocate where I did my drawing. I’m fortunate to have a studio – a small room where my art supplies live and where I can go to draw and paint and control the lighting with everything I need at my fingertips – it’s all very comfortable and lovely and a situation crying out for a shake-up. The only requirement I set out was that I draw outside of my comfy and safe nest studio – and as a result, outside of my comfort zone.
This was an eye-opening experience for me. A simple change in location led me places I had not considered before in more than a literal sense. There were days where I simply picked another room of the house to draw in and I drew what I saw and even that seemed new. I managed to draw on location quite a lot and realized I would like to try more urban sketching and take the time to develop the skills I’m currently lacking in drawing buildings and other architectural elements. I found that there is some pretty cool looking public furniture at malls and in other public spaces and I may have to make that a theme at some point.
I pushed myself out of my comfort zone quite a lot this past month and I really enjoyed it. This has made me excited about drawing again and I feel like there is just so much out there that I want to capture in my sketchbook. There were a lot of days where I sat down and looked at what I wanted to draw and felt the fear of knowing that I might completely make a mess of it and I did it anyway. Some of the drawings are pretty mediocre, and that’s the thing; it really isn’t about how well they turned out, it’s about the process and the experience. Fortunately, the positive experiences far outweighed the less than successful ‘experiments’ and have left me with a head full of ideas to carry on in my daily drawing practice.

“I know there is a terrific idea there somewhere…”

March 12, 2019

“I know there is a terrific idea there somewhere, but whenever I want to get into it, I get a feeling of apathy and want to lie down and go to sleep.” – Willem De Kooning

 

I really enjoyed my drawings this month – there was a good balance between the challenge of each one and my interest in the subject matter. I’m sure I will be coming back to this subject matter again.  The shapes of the negative space and the legs provide such a great opportunity to forget what this thing you’re looking at is and just focus on where to put the next line. For the most part, I worked from photos. I had set out to draw all of the chairs in my house and I did get to most of them – except for the four different office chairs that were just bland to me. And there are just so many beautifully designed chairs out there that it would have been such a loss to stick to the ones in my immediate surroundings. I am now finding myself noticing (and photographing) chairs much more as I am out – at restaurants and in the mall. I am slowly building a collection of new chairs to do this all over again down the road with new fodder.

Part of my inspiration for this subject matter comes from the work of Lucia Dill and her paintings of folding chairs. I love everything about these paintings and the narratives she builds into them.

And now it’s spring and I’m working on more drawings to post here next month.

“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity…..”

February 17, 2019

“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.” – Ray Bradbury

This is my third year drawing every day. Having finished my first month, I took a bit of time last weekend to compare my drawings from January 2017 and January 2018 beside my January 2019 work. I had hoped to see huge advances in terms of the quality of my drawings – and I do see improvement, but not what I had hoped for. I found a lot of my drawings this past month a bit frustrating. Considering the shapes of the subject matter I was drawing (produce) consists of organic, often roundish shapes, I had thought I could do better to convey volume. It is what it is though. And I did experiment some with mediums which explains the less than stellar results of the drawings for Jan 14 and Jan 24. And there are some that I really like – Jan 9 and Jan 16. I am still going on this project and with a new theme for February I am looking forward to seeing the results.

“Canada is the only country in the world that knows how to live without an identity.” – Marshall McLuhan

January 28, 2019

 

These are a few drawings from my daily sketchbook from August through November. Somehow I’m able to play a little more when I’m drawing in my sketchbook and sometimes wonder if maybe I should just dispense with using the cut paper and just draw here – I may prefer the results. But I don’t want to be restricted to the same paper every day. It’s the looseness and the textures that I like the most in these particular drawings – I am still working on accomplishing that more frequently. And so I continue on.

“What we create is who we are, and who we are is what we create.” – Tobias van Schneider

December 31, 2018

Another year ending and another 365 daily drawings complete. My theme for my December drawings was Christmas and I pretty much stuck to drawing Christmas ornaments. I had started with the intention of incorporating either red or green on every drawing, but I missed a few days along the way and kind of stopped caring with the rush of the holidays. I was trying to use up the paper that I had prepared earlier so I was using grey paper quite frequently. It’s kind of ridiculous that even though I don’t love working with it, I continue to buy it. I now have two different types of grey paper, a book of Kraft and a book of blue-toned paper. Clearly I need to find a medium that I like to work with on toned paper once I get it out of the store.

Reviewing the drawings of the past year, I feel like I have improved my skills. I wish could say that I’ve improved dramatically, but I don’t really feel that’s the case. I have enjoyed some of the themes that I have worked with and I had a lot of fun trying new things – even when the results were questionable. My goal this past year (besides to improve my skills) were to work with a variety of mediums on a variety of papers. I have done that and am pleased with the result.

I’ve been thinking about how I will continue this project In 2019. Here are some notes on what I’ve come up with:

  • Continue to use a small format – approximately 5.5″ by 8″
  • No more black border on each drawing
  • Stick to a few papers that I like
  • Maybe more focus on developing my skills with particular mediums – still thinking about this
  • Definitely more themes – probably one each month
  • Definitely repeat some of the themes I have done in the past two years
  • Possibly play with pattern and abstract stuff some months
  • Possibly play with more fun approaches that don’t involve drawing from observation
  • Definitely push myself out of my comfort zone (more faces? Maybe landscapes??)
  • Continue to start each drawing session with quick sketches or drawing exercises in my sketchbook
  • Continue to post my drawings to Instagram each day
  • Add a second image to each daily Instagram post showing the materials I used for the drawing
  • Possibly write a bit more here about my process/approach to drawing and my thoughts about materials
  • Possibly complete a painting some days instead of a drawing
I’m looking forward to a new year of drawings.

“Boredom is the deadliest poison.” – William F. Buckley, Jr.

 

So at the end of October, I was really sick of drawing every day and I considered stopping. I was uninspired and it felt like a huge chore to continue. But I’ve been doing this for almost two full years now and didn’t want to give up either. I decided to focus on value and I started the month using markers representing a light, a mid and a dark value. This only lasted a couple of days, but it gave me the idea to start playing with value and simplified shapes. I continued to limit myself to three and then two colours and by the end, I actually enjoyed the drawing process again. As usual, through the month I worked with a few different papers and am including some notes about some of them along with a couple of things I learned along the way.

  • Nov 15 – 16 – Arches BFK Rives – Really not my favourite paper. It is very soft to the touch and somewhat delicate. Erasing takes a bit of the surface off and I found my ink colours bleeding at times – not what I was looking for.
  • Nov 17 – Yupo – Another paper I don’t like. I hear people rave about what you can do with watercolours on this material, but I am not a fan. I learned that if you erase pencil on Yupo, it then resists ink. My ink colours also faded very quickly.
  • Nov 21 – 26, and Nov 28 -30 – TerraSkin – I liked the TerraSkin, even though I found my colours would bleed at times. I found pencil does not erase after the ink has been applied on TerraSkin and that was annoying. I discovered that Liquitex Muted Turquoise (Nov 28) is the same colour as Dr. Ph Martin’s Juniper Green (Nov 29), but the brush strokes don’t show as much with the Ph Martin’s on the TerraSkin. Really liked the way the Ecoline inks smoothed out on the surface and the brushstrokes disappeared on the TerraSkin.