Sunday 18 February 2007
I've decided that while I'm OK with realism when it's something organic, I suck at drawing man-made things. Oh well, I guess I have the whole year to get better at it.
The text reads: 'Still eating the last of the Valentine's chocolates', although amazingly it was the 18th February when I finally ate the last remaining few. That's probably a record for me!
Posted: 8.20pm on 15.2.07
This started life as a very quick jewellery idea scrawled in the ideas book by my bed. I liked the image so much that I did a larger version in my current drawing book (I've been doing a series of small ink drawings in identical sketchbooks since last May). I also did this version on the envelope. While I like both of the later versions well enough, neither has quite the same energy and verve of the quickly dashed off original. That happens sometimes - the thing you do without really thinking has all the energy. One of the important things in making art is to think deeply about what you make whilst still keeping that original freshness.
Posted: 10.05pm on 14.2.07
I don't have a lot to say about this one, it's just more of my typical drawing style and imagery, although it does makes me think that I should do some experimenting with bringing the drawing over onto the front of the envelope.
Posted: 10.15pm on 13.2.07
I think this is possibly my favourite drawing so far. I adore symmetry and it really bothers me when things are slightly off kilter (I'm the sort of person who will visit your house and surreptitiously straighten up your pictures!). Consequently, symmetrical patterns appeal to me and my work often features regular yet slightly organic patterns. This is a fairly typical example so I'm not sure why I like it so much, but I do.
Posted: 10.50pm on 12.2.07
I was having a very low energy day when I drew these. I remember having no clue what to draw so I fell back on an old stalwart - jellyfish. I don't remember a time when I haven't drawn jellyfish, they feature in a lot of my doodling, along with weird robotic looking bugs, who will no doubt make an appearance at some stage. These are drawn from memory so they aren't at all accurate and they're a long way from being my best drawing but I kind of like them anyway because hey, they're jellyfish!
I remember seeing a Portuguese Man-of-War drifting off the west coast of Scotland once and being hugely impressed when my dad told us how poisonous it was. Most of the jellyfish we saw in Scotland were harmless pretty little pink and blue ones. We often found large numbers stranded on the beach if there'd been a particularly high tide and my brothers would torment me by picking them up and throwing them at me or covering them with sand so I accidentally stepped on them and shrieked.
Posted: 8.47pm on 11.2.07
I've noticed that I'm much more likely to draw something from life when I'm not feeling very inspired. It's odd because I suspect that a lot of people are more likely to be impressed by realistic drawings but for me, although I enjoy doing them, they usually mean that my brain is a bit empty and uninspired.
Posted: 9.09 pm on 9.2.07
I'm not all that happy with how this drawing came out. It was scrappy when I did it probably because I wasn't feeling great that day plus I was drawing in a hurry because I was on my way out to a meeting at my son's school and I wanted to get it into the post. And then it got wet whilst in the post and smudged quite a lot. Usually I like the traces of the postal journey but not on this envelope. Ah well, those are the breaks - once I've put something in the post, I'm committed and I can't change it plus I have no control over any damage done to it whilst it's out and about.
And to be honest, I quite like the honesty of that. All artists make mistakes and we all have stacks of lousy work that we destroy or don't show. A large part of being an artist lies in the editing and filtering process and learning to judge what is and isn't good work. With this project I'm having to do the editing process on a daily basis and if I make a mistake and let something through that in hindsight would have been better binned, well I have to live with that. Still, it's probably good for me!
Posted: 6.50pm on 8.2.07
Returned: unknown (oops, I don't seem to have taken a note of when it returned but it's likely to have been the 10th or 11th)
Friday 9 February 2007
These last two envelopes returned this morning and I'm finally caught up with scanning, editing, uploading and posting. Now I just have to try and stay current.
Posted: 5.03 pm on 7.2.07
Just to prove that I can draw in a more realistic fashion when I put my mind to it.* This took a while to do but I got really absorbed by it.
* In case it's not quite realistic enough, it's a pine cone.
Posted: 11.03 pm on 5.2.07
This was drawn with a thicker pen than normal because I couldn't find my usual pen. I much prefer a thinner line so I normally use a Pilot Hi-Tecpoint V5 Extra Fine. I've tried a whole load of different pens over the years but the Pilots are my current favourites for ink drawing because they give a good clear line but don't bleed through the paper. I'll probably keep buying new ones to try though because I'm a sucker for new art materials. For someone who spent years not drawing much, I've still managed to acquire quite an impressive collection of pens, pencils, inks, crayons, pastels and other drawing options.
Posted: 7.50 pm on 3.2.07
Drawn during a meal out at a lovely Chinese restaurant celebrating my partner's birthday. This would probably have been a better drawing if the waiter hadn't cleared the table before I was finished - such are the perils of drawing from life!
Posted: 8.00 pm on 2.2.07
This is the closest I've come to missing a day so far. I'd been watching TV in the evening and had totally forgotten about the envelope. I switched the TV off to discover that it was 11.45pm and I suddenly realised that I hadn't done my envelope. Total panic - I drew and filled the envelope in a frantic rush (as you can see from the hurried drawing) and dashed out the door to mail it. I made it with three minutes to spare!
Posted: 11.57 pm on 31.1.07
Oh, another science inspired drawing - it's interesting how I didn't notice this run of imagery until I came to update the blog. I certainly wasn't aware of it when I was drawing the individual envelopes.
These studies are taken from a macro photograph of a diatom that I tore out of New Scientist magazine. We get New Scientist delivered and I always cull them for imagery and interesting articles before they're recycled. I have boxes full of images from various sources that I use in my sketchbooks. I keep these for years because I never know what will inspire me. As long as I take the time to trim the images, they don't take up too much space. I store them in clear plastic folders in a couple of big plastic boxes so that sorting through them doesn't take too much time and energy. I don't have to go through thousands of images at once, I can just sort through a couple of folders. I once tried sorting them into categories but it was impossible and besides, I found that I enjoy the strange and unintended conjunctions that arise when they are filed in a random way.
Posted: 8.03 pm on 30.1.07
I've always been captivated by scientific drawing: when I was in school I enjoyed chemistry and biology partly because of the cool drawings. I loathed dissecting things but I loved drawing neat little diagrams all labelled with strange Latin names. However, no amount of drawing was enough to make me like physics!
Posted: 8.40pm on 29.1.07
I don't know where this idea comes from - I love colour in other people's art but find it very hard to use in my own. It might be partly a lack of confidence in my colour judging abilities, it might be because I'm not a painter or it might be because I was told at primary school that writing in coloured pens was wrong. Who knows!
Posted: 9.20 pm on 26.1.07
I try to make the contents of the envelope reflect the feeling of the day or capture some 'decisive moment' but often the drawing on the outside is also quite specific to something I've seen that day.
Posted: 11.47pm on 25.1.07
I bought a brush pen to try out. I'd never used one before and I found it very hard to control. I went through about three other envelopes before I finally discovered that it wanted to make pseudo-Chinese writing, kind of appropriate I suppose, since the pen was made there. I've not experimented with it since but I think it's probably better suited to larger, expressive drawings on better quality paper.
Posted: 11.47pm on 23.1.07
Monday 5 February 2007
Ah, some colour at last. As you can probably tell, I'm most at home using black rollerball pens for my drawings but this was done with red and black felt tips with rollerball outlines. My lack of control over the felt tips annoyed me, I'll need to look out my finer tipped ones.
Posted: 11.45pm on 20.1.07
More drawing from life, this time the skeins and ball of yarn on my desk. I almost always have some knitting on my desk because I knit whilst listening to podcasts or music. I knit most days and always have something on the needles (usually two or three things).
Drawing from life is something that I've only recently come back to. Like most artists I started out with drawing and I was largely self taught. I'd enjoyed art as a kid but became convinced in secondary school that I was 'no good at drawing'.
At the age of 18 I had been chucked off an English degree after only a year (I failed all my exams in spectacular style after spending the whole year partying hard!). So I was back home living with my parents, working in a hospital as a medical technician, a bit depressed and bored out of my mind. I knew I needed some kind of creative outlet and so I took up drawing again, probably because it was something small, cheap and portable.
I quickly became hooked and kept myself sane by drawing in my lunch breaks and in the evenings. I moved down to Oxford to another hospital job and started taking life classes. My job became more and more unbearable to me: I was living for the evenings and weekends when I could make art. Eventually I got a portfolio together, applied to several art colleges and was accepted at Cumbria College of Art to do a Foundation course.
There was a lot of drawing on Foundation but slowly my need to draw from life fell away. I've never stopped drawing completely - even in the years when I was drawing very little I still sketched out rough ideas for sculptures in my notebooks - but I stopped drawing from life almost entirely, preferring the quickness of taking photographs. So it was quite a surprise when a couple of months ago I suddenly started drawing from life in my moleskine notebook. I haven't done a lot of it since then, but it's kind of nice to feel that maybe I have come full circle in my drawing education. I certainly feel as though I am still a beginner at drawing and probably always will!
Posted: 10.20pm on 19.1.07
Other things come to die in my study as well. This daddy long legs has been caught in a single thread of spider web under my window since at least last summer. I kind of like the way it drifts and slowly dances in the breeze, although I don't suppose that's much of an excuse for my lack of dusting.
Posted: 9.50pm on 18.1.07
A rather scrappy drawing of the mess in front of my computer. My computer sits on a little shelf unit to raise it to the correct height for my eyes and despite my best efforts, the shelf gets piled up with notes, bits of string, rubber bands, thread, knitting needles, pens and all sorts of other tat. And as for the space underneath the unit - well, let's just say that things go there to die!
Posted: 10pm on 17.1.07
This project has taught me a lot about my scanner already although it drives me slightly nuts that I have to change the auto tone to off every single time I scan. I'm sure there's a way to set it to off as a default but I haven't worked out what it is yet. Ah well, I expect I'll be an expert in my scanning software by the end of this year.
Posted: 10.25pm on 16.1.07
Often the envelopes come back in clumps, this one and the preceding three all came back on Tuesday 16th January. I wonder if any of our post people have noticed this project yet.
These sorts of simple rounded shapes have been part of my drawing vocabulary for almost as long as I can remember. Certainly I was drawing ovals, circles and bowls way back in 1991 when I was on my Foundation year and I was probably drawing them as doodles before that.
Posted: 8.10pm on 13.1.07
I've been very good about keeping notes in my moleskine notebook (thank goodness, or updating this blog would be a lot more difficult) but occasionally I forget to note down the time of posting.
Posted: 7pm (ish) on 11.1.07