Friday, September 5, 2008

Day 41: 23 July 2008

Day 42: 24 July 2008

Day 43: 25 July 2008

Day 44: 26 July 2008

Many years ago as part of a self-esteem increasing period, I discovered that part of how we know and understand ourselves comes from outside of ourselves. So in spite of any little voice inside ourselves which cries out to the contrary, negative messages, particularly in the formative years, can take hold. At the same time, the messages from outside can shed new light on how you are doing or who you are. Thus, my first post and the comments on my trash can, shed new light. I have been burrowed deep down in a channel of production and judging and could not see my own progress.

Day 45: 27 July 2008

Day 46: 28 July 2008

I finally figured out what the heck is wrong with my spelling. I keep making crazy mistakes on my pictures and I suspect it’s not right but I am at a complete loss as to how to fix it in that moment. This flies in the face not only of my education but also my professional life and my work experience…..well basically my capability. So yesterday, once again staring down the face of another error, I finally get it. I am so far into a right brain mode at that moment that my left brain language/writing capability is basically non-existent. Throw in a good dose of fatigue and you have this performance. OK….I’m good with that.

Day 47: 29 July 2008

Day 48: 30 July 2008

Day 49: 31 July 2008

I put the wrong date on the picture. It was done on 31 July. Spelling...dates....correctness eludes me. I believe this was actually the EDM challenge of the week - draw a truck. I wrote a short story right after my dog walk this morning. It knits right into the mood for this intense drawing day. I spent most of the day absorbed in this picture....tons of fun.

31 July 2008 A Murder of Crows and a Hawk

There is a lot of tension in the air this morning.

I awake with a jolt at 5:05. My head pounds as usual. The realization of exhaustion slams my consciousness again. But I need to move. I need to get up. I feel edgy.

I take my coffee out into the front porch and sit in the semi-dark. The wind is too high for an early prairie morning. It adds to the restlessness in the air, my restlessness.

The sun is rising over the horizon and painting a murderous orange red as it comes. Slowly it pulls itself higher. The trees rustle impatiently. The sky turns to a saturated vanilla and grey. I quit this place and get more coffee. It’s still pre-daylight really and too early to take the dog out for a walk but I need to move. I adjust and print a few pictures for my planned drawing this morning. Now I can go.

I need to be out with the wind. I need the tree rustling volume in surround sound around me. I need to move with the leaves.

The dog is strange today. She takes detours and does things she normally doesn’t do.

We hear the rapid and furious squawking of a crow. As we go down our silent route up the back lanes I see the crow. It’s chasing…what is that an owl? No it’s a hawk. A crow chasing a hawk in the semi-light. What is a hawk doing down here in the suburbs?

We get close. Now I see a roost shaking itself into action and becoming a murder of crows. I hope not literally. There are four of them, grouped two-by-two. Two are slowly calling out while sitting on a wire. Another two are at the gutter of a steeply pitched roof. The hawk is gone. Smart. There must be carrion somewhere around, likely in the gutter where the crows put it yesterday.

We make our way onto the road now. The wind. The wind. It soothes me with its action, swirling around my arms, cooling my pounding brow. In the distance I see two cats tensely poised. It is the type of stance which shows conflict between them.

As we approach they spill onto the road screaming and with fur flying literally. Off to the sides in the distance are three rabbits, like a border of silent statues watching. Strange. Very strange. I stamp my foot and lowly growl “Git. Git.” All that does is startle the dog. One cat glances edgily at me. Two steps more and they run in opposite directions.

The rabbits do not move. They rarely do when we pass by. I have trained my walking companion and myself to keep our energy low and whisper softly to them so we can enjoy their beauty.

We turn around and head home. The wind comes in gusts, the leaves tinkle and rustle and flow. As we go along I hear the crows. Now I see the hawk perched on the roof of this house, one foot up. How strange. A crow lands four feet away and its cry goes up in pitch and speed directed at the hawk. The hawk stares at him. The crow flaps its wings and jumps sideways two steps towards the hawk who flaps in return. They are both agitated but wanting to hold their ground. The crow now moves another hop with wings raised up threatening the hawk. The hawk flies off as the crow jumps backwards and watches. The prize must be valuable for all this to happen I think.

I think of the animal totems. Unusual bird activity….a sign of magic.

Now I see that lightly clouded skies have darkened into a smooth greyness. Perhaps a storm is coming in. I feel edgy and intense and enlivened. I feel part of the morning’s secrets.

We arrive home and I open every window I can to let all this seep in and envelope me. It’s going to be a great day. I can feel the magic.

Day 50: 1 August 2008

The End. 50 pages, 50 days is done. What a great experience. I would advise anyone now to take a journey like this, especially if you like surprises and self-discovery.

Now what? Well I was thinking as I neared the final few days that I would have to “get back” to other artwork now. Much to my surprise, yet another surprise, I thought of what else I might have done in this time. I listed four small watercolour paintings and near completion of an 18 x 22 watercolour Frothy Tiger Moth painting. In addition, I finished one roll of colour film, one roll of bl/wh, processed and catalogued the images from four rolls in total, and shot and catalogued about 100 digital shots. I printed in final, four flower 8 x 10 colour prints and three art cards. I also practised architect lettering and researched four other fonts to practice for hand lettering. I learned to make and use my own brushes in Photoshop. I learned to create a blog and post to Flickr. I have also finished my research and decision making on the flower type for a 5 ft. by 6ft. fabric art which is midway. I have reviewed some of my initial design work for a book of poetry a friend wishes me to illustrate and pushed my thinking to the next percolation way station. I finished reading the lion’s share of The Pen and Ink Book by Jos A. Smith and Illustration by J. Morgan . I also finished Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins and began Moby Dick by Herman Melville. I read two PhotoShop magazines, an Art Review and a Bl/Wh Special Edition. Then there’s all the web stuff. I wrote a short story. I have a job which is 40+ hours a week, Mary Ellen’s cancer care, an aging dog with mega allergies, family and friends, and a three story Victorian house which I had painted during this time.

So reading this list, I have decided to take the afternoon off….well maybe… LOL.

I bought two new sketch books three days ago to get ready for the next leg of the journey. What I would really like to do is to practice with various materials and see what I can do with that. I want to fully understand my pens and the lines I can get out of them. I want to better understand paper. Vacation is coming and I want to do a 22 x32 drawing of some type of animal with an intricately decorated skin. I also want to paint an acrylic rendering of a friend’s dog who died this spring. I would love to finish the Frothy Moth and the fabric art. I also want to carve some more on a large lino landscape. I want to post the entire 50 days, 50 pages to my blog. I want to learn to use painterly strokes overlaid on bl/wh photos I have taken and possibly consider that for some silk screen. I am dying to create some highly textured stone columns for the garden and to lay into the grass the cement leave stepping stones I created last year.
So, off I's exciting.....

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Day 31: 14 July 2008

Day 32: 15 July 2008

Day 33: 16 July 2008

Day 34: 17 July 2008

Holy smokes! This one was painful!

Day 35: 18 July 2008

Day 36: 19 July 2008

Day 37: 20 July 2008

Day 38: 21 July 2008

Definitely one of my favorite drawings (and perhaps the elephants) ..... and one of my favorite dogs of all time....

Day 39: 22 July 2008

I am going to have a gallery showing entitled Hotel Room Chairs. Just kidding..... But I do have a collection of drawings of them for sure....

Day 40: 23 July 2008

AHA! Miss Finnie! You dance in my dreams from your lofty perch on the Rainbow Bridge!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Day 21: 4 July 2008

I love the view from an airplane window. I spent a year taking cloud pictures from an airplane window.

Day 22: 5 July 2008

...late at night...stealing a last few moments in the day for this......

Day 23: 6 July 2008

My brain does not do landscape very well but I doggedly return to it now and then to stretch my neural pathways a bit.

Day 24: 7 July 2008

Aaaaahha.....This is profoundly coming home after a trip....

Something happened along the road of the fifty in and around 23. Suddenly, I had an intense awareness of this thing called my mind’s eye. The thing that I was looking at to draw had become something very much inside my head and my understanding of it was beyond just the looking at it I had always done. Now I could see/feel the planes, the curves, the lines, the shadow, the texture and all of this melded together into a beingness which swirled around like delicious chocolate swirls throughout the caramel cream of my mind. It all flowed out of me like topping to the page.

Day 25: 8 July 2008

.....and more I shall have.....

Since I was a very small child, I have been fascinated with insects and have had a deep deep love of all animals. I have spent many hours in my life drawing and painting all manner of insects and in more recent years quite a host of frogs. I always own a dog or two and periodically have a cat move in with me. Right now, Animal Planet hums somewhere off in the background, something in this house which is on constantly. I collect pictures of them and spend hours reproducing them. I am very happy doing this.

Day 26: 9 July 2008

...and more.....

These fifty pages are now about creating in bl/wh and using ink. They have turned themselves into a rebellious journey of, “This is what I want to do damn it!” Not this is what I should do. It all sounds very straightforward doesn’t it? Realization and acceptance are slow. They come after doing. For someone like myself this is always the hard lesson. I want to think it through first, understand, realize and then act.

Day 27: 10 July 2008

Day 28: 11 July 2008

I am picking up momentum now and loving it......

I got that AHA! spark thing that happens. I was thinking about why bl/wh has drawn me in so much as I have always described myself as a colourist. I remembered how satisfying lino has been over the last year and just working in bl/wh. Suddenly, I saw the fifty as fodder for a lino series and I got really excited…..

Day 29: 12 July 2008

Day 30: 13 July 2008

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Day 11: 24 June 2008

Stewart the Webkinz frog's feet. I have spent years allowing my natural inclination to be the contour line queen have its way. I had to break that a little for development purposes but it feel's sooooo good!

I have always aimed to capture the thingness of something. Yet my internal editor and internal critic ganged up on me to produce what I should – use what I thought were classic styles or approaches. When I break free from that in a fit of rebellion and do as I please, it feels like soul food, a guilty indulgence however. I excused it as such, vowing to go back to the right way immediately. Reading Danny Gregory again, I came across a passage which says don’t try to adopt a style or even force the creation of something stylized. Just draw what you see. The style will emerge of its own and it will be truly you. What confidence that gave me to just go for it!

Day 12: 25 June 2008

I am amazed daily at the number of people in the world who are just out there creating on many levels and how when you run into one of them you feel as if you have stepped into a new world of wonder and learning – their world. I love when you can feel their souls or get their thinking.

I spend time thinking about the sheer magnitude and wonder of human endeavour. It simply amazes me. I look around at what we have created around the world. I particularly wonder at the frivolous products we create….or sometimes the nature of TV shows. We are very busy creatures.

Day 13: 26 June 2008

Repeatedly throughout these pages you will see references to biggest nemesis....

Day 14: 27 June 2008's late and again I felt like I was searching for a subject and once found it was less than satisfying....

Day 15: 28 June 2008

Day 16: 29 June 2008

Day 17: 30 June 2008

Day 18: 01 July 2008

Day 19: 02 July 2008

I discovered Posemaniacs today from Danny Gregory's site. Very cool. This will prove useful.

Day 20: 3 July 2008

Monday, September 1, 2008

Day 1: 14 June 2008

These fifty pages have become a realization about a lifetime living in fear of failure around making art. Suddenly, through persistence in the face of that, I know what it is like to be free. Over the years I have realized many moments of this freedom but a consistent flow, and indeed, consistent daily production has eluded me. Until now.

The utter fact that it is now is confounding to me. Never has there been a time when other things and people are more a priority and consistent demand. Never has there been a time when fatigue and exhaustion are always just right there…lurking, threatening. Yet here I am happily producing on a daily basis. It is a dream come true.

It is also a journey a self-discovery in a big way. Again, another surprise. After 26 years of plodding away consistently, daily and doggedly on a path of wellness, it always surprises me when there is a big pocket of self-discovery that I stumble across. Well, at least, I am not boring myself! It’s also great because that was not the point at all of this particular journey. It was a gently surfacing by-product. I love that.

I got this fifty-page sketchbook for my 54th birthday. I decided to try to do one sketch a day as inspired by Danny Gregory’s Creative Licence and the Everyday Matters Group. I made it!

I made this commitment with some trepidation. One thousand things have always interfered before. The challenge seemed almost insurmountable this time. Mary Ellen’s battle with cancer presents daily requirements for care, creativity, perseverance and energy. Yet it is Mary Ellen herself who has provided the support and encouragement for me to be able to do this and realize a lifetime wish. The irony in this is profound and I am grateful for every moment. It has all brought me to this moment in time. I want to dedicate 50 Pages, 50 Days to Mary Ellen.

So you are looking at the first day. I have posted them this way to show the journey or perhaps the gravitations. Many of the twists and turns in the road have surprised me as I mentioned before.

Materials: Robert Bateman 110 lb. 6 x 9” Sketch Book. An assortment of pencils. Schaeffer Fountain Pen. Lamy Fountain Pen and Noodler’s ink. Sharpie black felts. Staedtler Pigment Liners .03, 0.05, 0.7 Copic Multiliner SP 0.1, Pigma Brush Pen, WN watercolours, Prismacolour watercolour pencils, mechanical pencils 0.7 HB lead, mapping pen nib and India Ink.

Day 2: 16 June 2008

Day 3: 17 June 2008

Day 4: 18 June 2008

Day 5: 19 June 2008

Day 6: 20 June 2008

Day 7: 21 June 2008

Mary Ellen was not feeling very well at all on this morning.....

Day 8: 21 June 2008

This was a Sketch Crawl day. So here I am out in the hot hot day with Mary Ellen in a wheelchair, an aged dog, thousands of people in the park, gnats, flies and mosquitoes everywhere and a very threatening thunderstorm approaching rapidly out of nowhere with no notice. I found I did not have the right paper at all and it became about just being able to get here and try...we did it....

Day 9: 22 June 2008

Robins built a nest very rapidly on the deck. The house painters arrived and they abandoned the nest just as quickly. There were eggs in it. It feels sad.

Day 10: 23 June 2008

Another 'should'.....