“To depend entirely upon inspiration is as bad as waiting for a shipwreck to learn how to swim. To leave everything to natural spontaneity is as bad as to make everything the result of mechanical pre-determination… perfection is the harmonious blending of the two.” – Francois Delsarte
June 18, 2018
It seems it’s been a while that I’ve felt torn between trying to finish as many of my old canvases as possible and starting something new and larger. And in the absence of a decision between the two, I’ve either been working on smaller pieces or not working at all. Being a collector of art supplies, I have quite a few small canvassers and panels that I’m filling in short sittings with images that are not all that special to me. Their completion almost amounts to putting in time – but the intention is not a negative connotation. It’s more about keeping at it and removing the expectation of a certain outcome beyond a surface covered with paint that I can call ‘done’. I do have some time set aside in the near future to play with cold wax techniques and that just might lead to something new…
I haven’t been painting that much lately with all of the time I’m spending on my daily drawing project, but I am slowly working through a series of what I hope will be six paintings of the same still life in different styles. I posted the first two paintings in October. The latest two are here.
Back in September I took on a composition of spoons on the spur of the moment, but I wasn’t really impressed with how it went. It sat against the wall, rather unloved until a couple weeks ago when I decided to see if I could improve upon it. I haven’t decide which one I like better – not that it matters as I simply painted over the first version to reach the second one. I find the subject matter interesting and I may have to try it again down the road.
My poor neglected blog. Fortunately, I have done a little painting in the last month – the results are below. I’ve been playing around a bit and am looking forward to more experimentation with dark outlines.
My drawing a day project is going reasonably well – another 31 days completed.
May 1 2
May 3 4
May 5 6
May 9 10
May 11 12
May 15 16
May 17 18
May 19 20
May 21 22
May 23 24
May 25 26
May 29 30
For June, I’ve decided on two rules:
All of my drawings will consist of a few items selected from 21 still life props with the addition fresh produce I have on hand if I choose to add it. I’ve photographed all the props together to better illustrate how distant the resemblances in my drawings are to their real-life counterparts.
Any medium goes – as much variety as possible – it’s about being experimental and knowing that some (or most?) of these drawings will be atrocious! This is my chance to play with all of those art supplies I was so enamoured with when I saw them in the store but I really have no idea how to use.
Only a couple of things to post this week. The first is a new copy of a master lemon painting. This one is from “Fruit and a Jug on a Table” as featured on the Museum of Fine Arts Boston site.
I completed the next lesson in my Craftsy class – creating a colour wheel with Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Titanium White and Mars Black with a 50/50 mix of black and white standing in for blue. It was an interesting idea and I thought it turned out fairly well – especially as I avoided using multiple brushes by working with a palette knife instead.
I liked this format for a colour wheel so much that I decided to go on and do another one using primaries and secondaries directly from the tube based on Betty Edwards recommendations in her book Color: A Course in Mastering the Art of Mixing Colors. Colours used are Cadmium Red Medium, Cadmium Yellow Pale, Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Orange, Cobalt Violet and Permanent Green. I added Titanium White and Mars Black for the tints and shades. I could have done some smoother gradations on this one, but it serves its purpose all the same. And no brushes to clean!
So my February drawing challenge was to draw from photographs using black ink and grey markers. I had thought drawing from photos would be easier, and although the actual drawing was easier as everything is already flattened, I did not enjoy it as much. It was a pain to find images that I liked and I doubt I’ll do it again. The grey markers were to help me notice value more, but it wasn’t until the 13th that I clued in that I needed to shift how I was working and focus on the various values of the forms rather than drawing outlines in black and filling them in with grey. There are a few drawings that I like in the group, quite a lot that I don’t care for and some that I consider cringe-worthy. And that’s ok. It’s an experiment and it’s all good.
What I gained most in February was more ease in jumping in and being less precious about the result. I’ve reached the point where I care less about how each drawing turns out and more about the practice of drawing.
I completed the second and third lessons in my Craftsy class with the result of the third lesson below. And although I understand the point, I’m getting a little tired of painting the same subject over and over. Apparently I have a short attention span. We’ll see what lesson four brings.
“Embracing the vulnerability it takes to rise up from a fall and grow stronger makes us a little dangerous. People who don’t stay down after they fall or are tripped are often trouble-makers. Hard to control. Which is the best kind of dangerous possible. They are the artists, innovators, and change-makers.” – Brene Brown
Between family ski trips and a lack of inspiration to paint, I decided to work on a Craftsy class that I purchased (and began) awhile ago. The class is called Paint & Palette Essentials and since I had very little recollection of my experience of completing the first assignment, I repeated it. Both versions are below. This was a Monochromatic Wipe Out Study – something new for me. I generally keep a lot more paint on my brush than this technique involved, so I found it a little frustrating getting the hang of this style of application. It turned out better than I had thought it might and I see the point of this approach. I kind of like my first attempt more than the one I just did though. I’m glad I avoided looking at it until I had completed it the second time around. I am looking forward to the next lesson to see where this leads.
Panel 1 WIP, Jan 14, 2017, Mixed Media on Birch Panel, 11″ X 14″
Panel 2 WIP, Jan 14, 2017, Mixed Media on Birch Panel, 11″ X 14″
Panel 3 WIP, Jan 14, 2017, Mixed Media on Birch Panel, 11″ X 14″
The latest in the 6″ X 6″ Circle Composition series:
And my daily drawing challenge so far:
January 1, 2017
January 2, 2017
January 4, 2017
January 5, 2017
January 6, 2017
January 7, 2017
January 8, 2017
January 9, 2017
January 10, 2017
January 11, 2017
January 12, 2017
January 13, 2017
January 14, 2017
January 15, 2017
When I did my drawing a day project back in July, I decided to use the same medium all month – black drawing pens and a bit of watercolour. I used a small watercolour sketchbook to work in that had 28 pages to which I added 3 more small sheets that I tucked in the back to contain the entire month’s work. I’m carrying both of these ideas over into this new project. I’m using a 2017 Moleskine planner set that consists of 12 small 3.5 x 5 soft cover books. Each has a different colour cover and a page for each day and they can all be contained in a hardcover. The lines on the pages don’t bother me, but the show-through from one page to the next does. So I’m experimenting with gessoing every second spread to avoid that. For the month of January I’ve chosen graphite as my medium. It’s been awhile since I’ve messed with graphite and I’m enjoying it so far. I’m not as fond of the way the graphite responds to the gesso on the pages, but I’m working with it and trying different things – sanding the gesso a little and using harder pencils, or just dispensing with the gesso and accepting whatever show through results. So far it’s going well. Two weeks in, 50 to go.