Monday 27 August 2007
I like the way that other people see things in my drawings that would never have occurred to me.
Rebekka Pierre from Flickr says:
I like this one.. looks sort of like a half eaten apple. or a bunch of feet, or a forest in reflection of itself..
Rebekka, I love your insights - I was aware of the half eaten apple reference when I drew it (although I've got it described in my notebook as a 'triffid mouth', which obviously made sense to me at the time!) but I would never have thought of the feet or the forest reference.
Posted: 11.47pm on 22.8.07
It's interesting to me how changing the colour and orientation of a shape can make so much difference to the way it reads visually. These are basically the same shape as yesterday's envelope, just turned 90 degrees but as you can see, they do quite different things on the page. This drawing is much more about the white space between the lines.
Posted: unknown time on 21.8.07
I described these in my Diary Project notebook as 'sheaves'. I've always been very attracted to the shape of traditional sheaves, there's just something about that tight pulling in at the centre and then wispy flaring off at both ends that appeals to me. As a child I used to collect long ethereal grass stems and make similar little tied bundles from them - it was yet another of my repetitive childhood activities.
Posted: 11.51pm on 20.8.07
I'm not quite sure what's going on here. It looks a bit like a fringed scarf but I was thinking of piping with knotted thread hanging off it. I often draw things that I think aren't quite drawings but are really embryo sculptures.
That's the great joy of drawing though, that it can be so many different things - a piece of art; an idea; a seed; a map; a diagram; a mental reminder; a plan; an exact reproduction; an illustration; a mental flight of fancy and more...
Posted: 11.47pm on 19.8.07
I was feeling the need for a bit of colour.
When I'm drawing my daily envelope, I'll often check the Diary Project set on my Flickr to make sure that I'm not getting into a rut or if I suspect that an envelope might be too similar to an existing one (after more than 235 envelopes, it's easy to forget exactly what I've already drawn). I knew I hadn't drawn with colour for a while but I was still surprised to discover that there had been 19 black ink envelopes in a row!
Now, I love black ink and would have been perfectly happy to draw with it for the entire year but I'm glad that I did allow myself a choice of drawing materials because working with colour always shakes me up a bit.
Posted: 11.53pm on 18.8.07
I always get a little thrill when I can post envelopes from somewhere different: this one was posted from Shrewsbury, where we were staying for a night.
This was drawn from life, which is unusual for me. It's two views of the base of an acorn that I picked up on the grounds of Shrewsbury Abbey - I found it close to a memorial to the poet, Wilfred Owen who hailed from the town. It just seemed so fitting to draw this quintessential English symbol in such a very English place.
Posted: 11.05pm on 17.8.07
Saturday 25 August 2007
I was very unsure about this drawing until I added the broken line and then it suddenly all came together. It's often like that, I'll sit with something for a while, knowing that it's missing something - sometimes I find the missing thing that just lifts the drawing for me, sometimes I end up with a spoilt drawing and have to start over!
Posted: 9.20pm on 16.8.07
This started out as quite a plain oval that was intended to be a very flat, two-dimensional drawing but it developed into this very three-dimensional seed instead.
Posted: 11.50pm on 15.8.07
I don't remember what I was thinking about when I was drawing this but my partner saw it in progress and immediately said, "oh, piles of money" and now I can't see it as anything else.
Posted: 11.27pm on 14.8.07
This envelope was inspired by a visit to Valle Crucis Abbey in North Wales. I was very taken with the dark slate walls, which had a repetitive linear quality that I found very compelling.
Posted: 11.43pm on 13.8.07
Wednesday 15 August 2007
Yet another drawing done in a restaurant, this time during a meal celebrating our 13th anniversary. This one was inspired by the stunning rock formations around Llangollen in North Wales. It's always much easier to find inspiration for my envelopes if I've been out and about and going somewhere completely new was particularly useful: even though I'm back home now, I'm still processing the images that I saw over the weekend.
Posted: 10.10pm on 12.8.07
This envelope was drawn with an audience - several extremely curious waiters in a Bangladeshi restaurant who were fascinated by the project.
The initial spark for the drawing were the stacked hay bales I saw whilst driving up to North Wales for a weekend break.
Posted: 9.43pm on 11.8.07
This was a deliberate attempt to work with the edges of the space rather than the centre: it looks a little bit like someone has been taking bites out of the envelope!
Posted: 11.12pm on 10.8.07
I think of this as 'the little windmill drawing' because the shapes remind me of wind farms. I know lots of people hate them but I find the rhythmic movement and streamlined shape of modern windmills very compelling.
Posted: Unknown time on 9.8.07
This was drawn from a photograph. I'm always on the lookout for striking images that can inspire drawings so when I saw the amazing patterns the soap bubbles were making on the curved glass doors of shower cubicle, I had to get out of the shower dripping wet and go and get my camera. The things I do for art!
Posted: 9.06pm on 8.8.07
Another variation on the looped lines idea, I like how the dark centres make the white lines 'pop', there's a real feel of three dimensional space within the shapes. That pushing forward of white space is something I keep coming back to in this project, it fascinates me. Drawing every day has definitely taught me a lot about how drawn space works.
Posted: 11.53pm on 7.8.07
I like how the very dense use of ink on this drawing adds to the organic gnarly quality. It took quite a while to do and I was very pleased that I managed not to smudge it. Of course, it then managed to get mucky and smudged after it was posted - typical!
Posted: 11.50pm on 5.8.07
Saturday 11 August 2007
I find this a very strange drawing and I have absolutely no idea what it's about or where it came from. That sense of surprise is one of the things I cherish about the creative process; often it feels as though you're hunting around an extremely dusty attic, finding things you didn't even know you had!
Posted: 11.05pm on 3.8.07
This was such a long, slow drawing! The initial drawing took ages but then it spent about 2 hours propped up against my computer so that I could look at it while I was doing other things. Every so often, I would take it down and very carefully add a couple more lines. I must have done that dozens of times. Usually my drawings happen in a more focused burst of energy but this one seemed to require a lot of very slow consideration.
Posted: 11.48pm on 2.8.07
This envelope was a lot of fun to draw, I enjoyed building up the increasingly dark tones without every just filling in areas with black.
Looking at it now, it reminds me of the tide line on a beach, although I started out thinking about landscapes when I was drawing it. However, the drawing seemed very boring and obvious when the tones were only below the 'skyline', so I moved above the line into something much more abstract: in the end I always seem to end up doing what the drawing wants!
Posted: 11.46pm on 1.8.07
This envelope is rather bulky, as you can see from the colour variation on the scan. The limitations on the envelope contents wasn't something that worried me before I started the project. Yet things have to fit inside; they can't be too large or an awkward shape or too thick or heavy either. In many ways it's been a bigger constraint than the drawing areas of the envelopes or the daily rules.
Posted: 11.46pm on 31.7.07
Thursday 2 August 2007
I'm still very drawn to the pen over wet paper technique and feel that there's lots more I can do with it: I particularly like the randomness of it and the way the ink sometimes spreads and sometimes doesn't. This is one of my favourite drawings from this week, I love the simplicity of it.
Posted: 11.52pm on 30.7.07
An experiment using colour and the scumbling technique: this drawing uses two shades of red and black. I like the way scumbling reminds me of textiles, most particularly freeform crochet.
Posted: 10.59pm on 29.7.07
When I posted it, I was worried that this drawing was too heavy and stolid but I couldn't come up with anything that I liked more. So I was quite surprised when it came back and I found that, while it wasn't one of my favourites, it was much better than I'd originally thought and I liked it well enough now.
I've read that you should always let your creative endeavours 'sit' for a little while before you judge them because having that resting period allows you to see them more clearer. It's something I've often found to be true. So if you're not sure about something you've done, put it away for a little while and then allow yourself the experience of looking at it with fresh eyes: you'll be able to see both your strengths and your mistakes far more easily.
Posted: 10.45pm on 28.7.07
I'm slowly working my way through the established techniques of ink drawing. I've done stippling and various forms of hatching and now I've moved on to scumbling, which is a lovely word for this very dense kind of random patterning.
Posted: 11.32pm on 27.7.07
This drawing expanded to fill the whole envelope. Although I hadn't intended it to when I started, it seemed to want to take up much more space. I like that sense that it's a close-up of something much bigger.
Posted: 11.35pm on 26.7.07
I was just thinking about how much I like the limitations of this project - the fact that every single drawing has to fit into an 11 x 22 cm rectangle is quite freeing.
In her superb book, The Creative Habit, choreographer Twyla Tharp tells a story about the trap of unlimited resources. She had been invited to make a ballet at the prestigious New York City Ballet and had the whole company put at her disposal for 4 weeks. Faced with such riches, she made mistake after mistake:
"I was like a kid in a toy store. I wanted to get every dancer I'd admired at NYCB into my ballet. I pushed some very accomplished soloists to dance in ensembles, which they considered demeaning."
She details many more problems with the project, most of which stemmed from this sense that there were no boundaries and that she could do anything in the world that she wanted.
"I could see that it wasn't working very well. Here is where the sense of obligation kicked in: I couldn't just throw out all the work we had done, because that would mean erasing two weeks of the entire company's time, which is worth a fortune. I felt obliged to the people proving me with all these remarkable resources not to have wasted them."
She ended up with a piece of work that was OK but she knew it could have been much better. To perfectly illustrate the point, her next commission was done under extremely stringent restrictions but resulted in a work that she considers the most satisfying of her career.
So there can be a real freedom to boundaries: if you have too many options you can either freeze or find yourself treading well known paths just for the sense of security they give you. Like filling in the edges of a jigsaw before you do the middle, defining the limits of your project can free up your mind to be more creative.
Posted: 11.48pm on 25.7.07
I was getting a bit bored with all the pen and wash drawings and decided that some colour was the perfect solution to shake things up a bit. I can get stuck in a bit of a rut sometimes and have to make the conscious decision to change things, which I usually do by using a different material or trying out a new style or technique.
Posted: 11.49pm on 23.7.07
I don't really think this drawing is really improved by the addition of orange stripes and the Harry Potter information but those are the breaks when you send art through the postal system every day!
I want to make versions of some of the Diary Project drawings on better paper at some point and this one will probably be included just so I can get the chance to enjoy it without the added extras.
Posted: 11.46pm on 22.7.07