“There is intelligence when you are not afraid. “ – Bruce Lee

So I’m only two months behind in posting my daily artwork. I hope to be caught up by the end of the summer and back on track for the fall – I figure a global pandemic should warrant leniency. Above are my daily drawings / paintings from May – a bit of a scattered mess really – and so it is appropriate that I provide a scattered mess of thoughts about them.

It was another month where I didn’t feel all that inspired, but kept at it regardless and found myself playing with materials to make things more interesting. My peppers on May 3 were done in gouache – a medium that I haven’t used for many years, but nevertheless had in a drawer and enjoyed working with again. May 7 I found myself combining grey scale markers, a dull pencil and watercolours. It’s an odd combination, but I kind of like it and the strange mix of textures. My impulse online pandemic shopping included the Gamblin Reclaimed Earth Colours (how could I NOT buy them – they are limited edition and really pretty!) and for my May 9 painting I wanted to work with the Rust Red. I like the palette I used in this painting and may revisit it again at some point. Sadly it reminded me of Starbuck’s Lemon Raspberry Loaf that I haven’t seen for quite some time. My May 10 ultra green pears were a combination of pigment pen, brush and ink and watercolour. I came very close to not drawing at all on May 16 – somehow life was just overwhelming that day – but instead I experimented with the Procreate app and an Apple Pencil and ended up with this odd chair drawing. I definitely have a lot to learn about this medium – perhaps I will delve further into it at some point. May 17 was the first painting in my series documenting the very short life of the tulips near my front steps that I inadvertently planted in sub-optimal sunlight conditions. I spent more time playing with water colour this month – on the 18 and 20. May 21 is my abstracted rendition of the Alberta Gallery of Art – a building fashioned of large undulating swathes of metal. Can you tell I was reading about Lawren Harris on May 22? More tulips on the 24 and 16 – these were the early days when they were still young and alive (no spoilers – really). I have always loved rendering fabric and I did so with a varying degree of detail on the 25 and 27. May 29 may become a painting – I like the strong line of the profile I referenced from Antonio Pollaiualo’s Portrait of a Lady and the de-emphasis of the details of the face. Back to markers for the last two days of the month mainly because they are quick and fun to use. 

All in all it was a haphazard month, but I made it through and didn’t miss a day. Sometimes I sit down to draw and it feels like such a chore and I wonder what the point is, but I push myself to follow through and just do it. Sometimes on those days I walk away afterwards feeling like all I accomplished was checking a box – only to return the next day and think “hey – that’s kind of cool, I need to do something like that again!” Of course other days I come back and wonder what I was thinking, inclined to crumple it into a ball and forget I had bothered. And none of that matters really. What matters is to come back. Over and over. And eventually what I draw will become something I’m proud of.

Thanks for checking out my work. Come back soon to see how June and July went.

“You have to learn to feel confident about the prospect of failing, because it’s so inevitable.” – Andrea Zittel

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

It may be mid-April, but here are my February daily drawings. March was a very busy month and although I managed to draw or paint every day, I am only starting to get caught up now and I have a ways to go yet.
In February my theme was produce. I played around with quite a few different mediums and there are a few that I quite like and a lot that I have to chalk up to having tried – even if the results are mediocre. Everything counts and I just keep going.

 

 

“Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a Shepard. Without innovation, it is a corpse.” – Winston Churchill

May 13, 2019

In April, I decided to redraw items that I had drawn in 2016 or early 2017. I had thought that perhaps I would be able to make some dramatic comparisons. That wasn’t really the case though. I am posting only the current drawings here, but each day I posted the current drawing on Instagram with the original. It may not have turned out as I had expected, but it did give me a break from coming up with ideas of what to draw for the month.

In each drawing I added a bit of colour (even if it was grey) with watercolour. I used either my Winsor & Newton travel box of watercolours or my Peerless Transparent Watercolors. I enjoyed the challenge and the opportunity to learn something new. The two sets produce quite different results and I have a lot to learn about both yet.

“Everyone repeats themselves.” – Rachel Whiteread

March 26, 2018

Wine & Pears Five, Feb 19, 2018, Oil on Panel, 20" X 16"

Wine & Pears Five, Feb 19, 2018, Oil on Panel, 20″ X 16″

Wine & Pears Six, Mar 3, 2018, Oil on Panel, 20" X 16"

Wine & Pears Six, Mar 3, 2018, Oil on Panel, 20″ X 16″

I finally finished the last two paintings in this six piece series I started last year. They’re all based on the same still life and my intention when I started was to work with the techniques introduced in the Craftsy class I had completed – I liked the subject matter and the idea of creating variations.

Below are all of the paintings together. I intend to hang them all on my living room wall to emphasize the differences and similarities between them. I will probably try another series similar to this, but I will use it to explore a variety of colour palettes. AFTER I finish at least some of the many paintings I have begun and am currently stuck on.

“The object isn’t to make art, it’s to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable.” – Robert Henri

March 12, 2018

Another month past and another 28 drawings completed. I think February went better than January. And now it’s March – the weather is warming up and spring is in the air. I hope to be a little more experimental again this month and loosen up a bit. In January and February I worked at 5”x7” and for March I’ve prepared a lot of paper at 8”x10”. I’ve added a few new papers to play with and plan to try working more with both vine and compressed charcoal. And maybe some paint… We’ll see how it goes.

“A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it is to be God,” – Sidney Sheldon

January 29, 2018

Today’s quote is courtesy of the latest letter on The Painter’s Keys. 

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.

Wine & Pears Three, Jan 14, 2018, Oil on Panel, 20" X 16"

Wine & Pears Three, Jan 14, 2018, Oil on Panel, 20″ X 16″

Wine & Pears Four, Jan 28, 2018, Oil on Panel, 20" X 16"

Wine & Pears Four, Jan 28, 2018, Oil on Panel, 20″ X 16″

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.

Spoons Round One, Sep 2, 2017, Oil on Canvas, 12" X 12"

Spoons Round One, Sep 2, 2017, Oil on Canvas, 12″ X 12″

Spoons Round Two, Jan 20, 2018, Oil on Canvas, 12" X 12"

Spoons Round Two, Jan 20, 2018, Oil on Canvas, 12″ X 12″

 

“authorship is a dubious concept…” – Victor Pelevin

November 20, 2017
“I had never understood my own poetry particularly well, and had long suspected that authorship is a dubious concept, and all that is required from a person who takes a pen in hand is to line up the various keyholes scattered about his soul so that a ray of sunlight can shine through on to the paper set out in front of him.” – Victor Pelevin in Buddha’s Little Finger

August 12, 2017, 8″ X 5.5″

Still not feeling much like painting, so I’m posting more of my drawings from July and August.

“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” – Rabindranath Tagore

October 23, 2017

Wine & Pears One, Oct 7, 2017, Oil on Panel, 20" X 16"

Wine & Pears One, Oct 7, 2017, Oil on Panel, 20″ X 16″

Wine & Pears Two, Oct 21, 2017, Oil on Panel, 20" X 16"

Wine & Pears Two, Oct 21, 2017, Oil on Panel, 20″ X 16″

 

I’ve decided to play around a little with a series of paintings of the same still life approached with different styles. I have two completed and I’m not sure how many I will paint in total – it will depend mainly on my attention span. The first painting was done using the basic technique introduced in the Craftsy course that I completed: Paint & Palette Essentials. I didn’t incorporate all of the ideas from the course, but I did work quite a few in. Overall I’m pleased with the results in both paintings.

 

 

“To make us feel small in the right way is a function of art; men can only make us feel small in the wrong way.” – E.M. Forster

August 28, 2017

Couple of Pears, Aug 12, 2017, Oil on Panel, 8" X 8"

Couple of Pears, Aug 12, 2017, Oil on Panel, 8″ X 8″

Couple of Apples, Aug 19, 2017, Oil on Panel, 10" X 8"

Couple of Apples, Aug 19, 2017, Oil on Panel, 10″ X 8″

 

The last painting from my July Painting Challenge inspired me to paint the same painting a couple more times. I thought I may do a series of these incorporating variations, but after the third one I think I need a break. At least I have a set of three now.

“Color is the place where our brain meets the universe.” – Paul Cezanne

August 14, 2017

July Painting Challenge – Conclusions and Notes

Panel Preparation
  • Started with 20 Exhibition Wood Cradled Panels from Opus – 15 were 8″ X 10″ slim panels (3/4″ deep) and 5 were 8″ X 8″ deep panels (1.5″ deep)
  • 3 coats of gesso applied to each panel with a light sanding between coats
  • 6 panels were covered with found paper and another 3 coats of clear gesso with a light sanding between coats
  • 9 panels were gessoed in black, grey or Venetian Red gesso
  • 3 panels were covered with gesso tinted with acrylic paint – light blue and yellow
  • The edges of all of the panels were gessoed black and I covered them with green painter’s tape while I was painting

Daily Process
  • Each day I started with about a half hour of drawing, often of the same subject that I would then paint. I found this very helpful to get a feel for the values of the subject matter with graphite or charcoal prior to taking on the paint.
  • I began most of the paintings with a very quick charcoal sketch directly on the panel.
  • I spent between one hour and an hour and a half painting each panel.
  • I painted with two spot lights – one directed to my subject matter and one to my easel and kept the blinds closed in order to control the light.

Random Notes
  • I played a lot with outlines which flatten the image, but then adding volume into the objects themselves with gradated values.
  • Trying to keep the edges sharp was tedious with oil paint and my lines became very inconsistent as a result, which annoyed me. Distinct outlines also created issues regarding shadows and light reflected off the edges of objects and how to portray that in a simplified manner.
  • On Day Fourteen, I decided to soften all of my edges – with a favourable outcome.
  • I should have known better and not cut the a lemon off on two sides on Day Seven. There was no way I was going to be able to make that lemon 3 dimensional after that. And I completely forgot to add the shadow under the bowl.
  • I really need to avoid outlining round objects until I learn to draw a better circle. This was a problem in Day Seven and again on Day Thirteen.
  • My lights were quite bright and the room fairly dark, which sometimes resulted in a fairly dark painting, as in Day Nine.
  • On Day Twelve I roughed in a few colours onto the pears and was about to start blending them in and then decided I liked it how it was and I just stopped.
  • Prussian blue is one of my favourite colours and it turned up in eight of the paintings and the combination of Prussian blue and burnt umber appeared in six of them.
  • The last 3 days I used all of the same colours.
 The biggest gain I achieved from this project was developing an increased ease at just jumping in and starting and not thinking about how it’s all going to turn out – and that has made it well worth the effort.