“The art of life is to show your hand.” – E.V. Lucas

July was all about drawing hands – mostly with graphite. This is the fourth year that I chose to spend a month drawing hands. I want to say that I have clearly improved since those drawings back in 2017, but I really like those first images. I do have a few favourites from this past month though. I quite like July 17 with the bizarre angle and the energetic, sketchy look. I also really like the 30 second blind contour drawing from July 8. That was one of those days when I just had no time and no patience and just wanted to get it done. Beyond the hand drawings, as much as I am missing my favourite Starbucks cup, I like the way my painting of it’s remains turned out on the first of the month. 

For the sake of comparison, here are links to the previous months of hand drawings. 

Hand drawings from June 2019

Hand drawings from November 2018

Hand drawings from August 2017

JUN 20, 2020

“It starts with this: …”

“It starts with this: put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room. Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.” – Stephen King

June was another scattered and chaotic month and I didn’t even try to do anything intentional with my drawing beyond just showing up everyday and spending time at it. 

It was a month where I found my materials provided me some inspiration. On one of my trips out into the world (beyond work), I found a pack of pens on sale at Staples. When I picked them up, I had thought they were pigment pens, but later realized they were paint pens: Derwent Graphik Line Painters to be precise. The set I have is #2 – which includes 5 colours: ‘High’ (light blue), ‘Brilliant’ (dark blue) ‘Envy’ (green), ‘Clockwork’ (yellow) and ‘Bricklane’ (red). These pens are fine-tipped at .5mm, opaque and permanent once they dry, but while they are wet, they are water soluble. It’s not difficult to get them to spit out a bit of extra ink that you can use as a wash or splash across the page. I played with some of these techniques – not nearly as artfully as the people on YouTube, but it was interesting (June 6 – 8). The fact that they are fine makes it a bit tedious to fill large spaces, but I intend to pick them up again soon. 

I found myself drawing hands a few times in June and at the end of the month I resorted to graphite – which turned into my plan for my drawings in July, which I hope to post in the next couple of weeks. 

Thank you for checking out my work. 

Do not be afraid of being wrong; just be afraid of being uninteresting. – T. Carl Whitmer

It’s June and just more than three months into this global pandemic – these ‘unprecedented’ times – and although in a lot of ways I am settling into this new and ever-changing normal in some ways, I am feeling very erratic in my art production. And it shows in my artwork from April. I‘m going to optimistically say that I’m starting to have more days where I feel like I have a bit more focus, energy and time to apply myself, but it is a very slow trend in that direction.

I am still creating art every day. Some days that may just be playing a bit with watercolours (it seems I’m watercolour challenged, but I’m still trying) and other days I will do quick blind contours or quick line drawings. I find pulling out materials that I don’t often use or have maybe never used, helps – if for no other reason than there’s very little pressure to achieve any particular standard. Right now my intention is to continue drawing or painting every day. And as I get to it, I will post my artwork here.

“I don’t know what kind of an artist I am.” – Jasper Johns

Ok, so March was a busy month for me – and that was before the global pandemic arrived. I had great aspirations at the beginning to experiment with various approaches to create tone with line so I could discover the one I liked the best and could then refine it. I had it all planned – angled parallel lines, then cross-hatching, then squiggly lines and then something else and early on, as you can see, I just crashed and burned. I managed to create one small painting the first weekend, but right after my smeary red cream pitcher all of my plans just went off the rails. 

I did continue to spend time every day drawing – even though it was often a few minutes of blind contours. Or it was a few minutes playing with the thick Faber Castell brush markers that I bought on impulse and have in only 5 colours. And really, life happens and the best laid plans and intentions need to adjust to that. 

March was an odd month, but even though at the time, those 5-10 minutes of drawing seemed like I was just checking a box, I’m actually kind of pleased with the results. And I’m reminded that any one or two days (or the entire month) really doesn’t matter. It’s all about continuing on. While quality and focus and  those high ideals are fine, at the end of the day, it’s about showing up and doing what I can and letting the quality bits float to the top when I view the month’s, or the year’s work as a whole. And so I continue. 

“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.

 

 

“All artists are two-headed calves.” – Truman Capote

February 3, 2020

These are the products of my 2020 Daily Art Project in January. In 2020 I am trying to replace one of my drawings with a small painting each week and so far this is going well. If I can manage more than one painting in a week that will be great, but once a week is my starting point.
My theme for the month was basic forms and I chose as my subject matter a set of 6 geometric forms. In most of my drawings and my paintings I was trying to pay attention to the variations of tones within the planes of the shapes – the side of the square that is totally in the shade is not just a flat tone but changes from side to side, etc. I was also trying to avoid lines where I could and instead emphasize the change of tone on either side of the line and trying to keep those lines soft. 
 
For the paintings, I’ve been using Gamblin FastMatte oil paints. Although this line of paint was designed for underpainting, I was attracted to their matte quality and in practice, I like that aspect of them, but I’m not really fond of the texture of the paint itself. Some of the colours are quite stiff out of the tube and I am mixing them with Gamblin Galkyd Gel and Gamsol which helps, but they really do dry quite quickly and often by the time I’m finishing they are no longer that easy to blend into. I intend to continue with them until I either change my mind or run out of the colours I have. We’ll see which comes first. 
I returned to graphite for the last four drawings in January mainly as I found myself short of time and graphite is an old friend that feels comfortable and quick – and I have a variety of options in the graphite family. In order to keep my drawing loose, I like to use a dull pencil – as I did for the drawings on the 28th and 29th. Then for a contrasting experience on the 30th and 31st, I switched to a series of mechanical pencils with different grades of graphite. I find the precision of the fine-points influences me to approach the drawing differently and I quite like the result I achieved. It has made me think it might be fun to spend an entire month on graphite in varying forms to explore the options and results. But not in February…..

“There are no happy endings. Endings are the saddest part, So just give me a happy middle. And a very happy start.” – Shel Silverstein

December 31, 2019

Happy New Year!

Another month of daily drawings completed and my third year of daily drawings done. I have big plans for 2020, but they will take time – good thing I have the entire year! I will continue creating art every day (or most every day) and will post the results here as I go. Just for fun, here are my images from December 2017 and December 2018.

“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.

“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.