100 days: 50-56
“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.”
~ Henry Ward Beecher.
Every day for 100 days I’m pursuing a daily drawing practice, inspired by a phone full of photos to fuel the ideas for these days doodles (me-from-the-past still thinks that sounds funny to say… essentially it’s a camera I can make phone calls from. If I have to. I’m not much of a phoner)
Every day I learn something new. Some days its to do with drawing, but more often it’s a bigger learning about the bigger world. I can’t always articulate the enormity of these lessons. But I will have a go: Here’s the next 7 learnings I’ve uncovered!
Here is week 8:
I saw these forlornly abandoned Christmas baubles gathering dust on the sale shelf in Oxfam one January. I had to adopt them. To me they aren’t all that Christmassy (but then, neither am I) so they hang in my home all year round. It reminds me of a little globe, but of a foreign planet, I think the hatching marks remind me of the notation on maps. This planet has a canal around its equator and stylised land masses. If such a place existed I’d be curious to visit, but I don’t think I’d want to make my home there. (Much how I feel about the world outside of my head).
I saw this statue in a shop in Seattle. It was enormous. Those are big dinner plates stacked either side, but even they don’t do justice to the imposing scale here. That’s one thing, translating a few tonnes of stone onto a 5″ square of paper…
The other thing? Yeh, the other thing. That is about how much character is in the nuance of the line.
This whole series is about drawings inspired by the photo – absolutely not about drawings copied from the photo. But faces hold so much more than line and form. Even sculptures. This is not the same face. Sure, they’re similar, maybe cousins. Perhaps a different point along the timeline of life. It’s all about impermanence, right?
The way we document our lives in today’s world and how the details are captured and time stamped has profoundly shifted our memories, I believe.
I love to collect rocks and shells when I visit a beach. I fill my pockets. Sometimes I’ll choose the best ones to keep, sometimes I’ll make a little beach mandala. And then they are forgotten and gone. If any come home with me, they are just anonymous rocks, disconnected from their environment they are separated from their story.
But this little pile of stones is special. It’s trapped in my memory as this photo is sandwiched between other memories, of beach time with dear friends. This handful of beach treasure I took back to the house we were staying at and arranged on a bigger rock in the garden. Because of this photo all the connected memories are still fresh. I look at it and I’m right back there again.
So again, in a different kinda way, it’s all about impermanence, right?
Today’s photo combines a few things that make me happy: turquoise, geometric patterns & memories of Tunisia. And a chance to show off my super-power. Everyone’s got one – what’s yours? is yours useful? My superpower is the ability to match color. Is this useful? well, only in a very limited way. But it makes me smile every time I do it, so I guess that’s enough for now.
Today’s colourful characters were last seen on the window sill of a house I stayed in last summer. Every corner of that place was decorated with this kind of quirky charm. (I was completely at home as soon as I arrived!) Every place I went I was surrounded by scenes like these, feeding my imagination to make up stories about the worlds of inanimate objects. Remember the movie Toy Story? Yeh, then you know where my mind wanders to.
And again with nuanced qualities of the faces: See how the scene shifts – background lady on the left looks aghast at how she’s been portrayed, not impressed she was caught yawning in the original I suppose, or suddenly aware in that in her redrawn predicament she’s teetering dangerously off balance. The second has emerged from her serene meditation and now looks to be pulling a selfie-duck-face.
I’ve had this postcard for more years than I can remember, it’s tucked in the cover of my diary.
You know how some things are so familiar we don’t see them any more? Sure, I see the peacock, but until I came to colour him in, I’d completely forgotten that he’s orange. The peacock-colour-background tricked my thinking…
Things like this remind me of all the ways a drawing practice ripples out into the way we really see what’s around us. Things like this make me wonder how much I don’t see everyday.
Everyday drawings of everyday things. My dragonfly t-shirt. Faded out Illegible nonsense and shiny details. So for me, at least, I go to read the faded graphics and they’re either upside down when I’m wearing it and looking down, or back to front in the mirror. Seeing it like this, to me, looks odd, in the same way we never see our faces as other people do.
I like some of my drawings more than others, and it’s interesting to see how much attachment I hold to my reaction. It’s all practice I tell myself. It’s all learning. It’s awkward and uncomfortable to put some of these out there, unpolished, unfinished (cos only so much time – these are sketches not paintings), wonky and lopsided. This is the truth of my drawing: Learning through authenticity.
Join me back here next week for the next exciting instalment!
If you missed the previous parts, you can find them here:
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(and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color as a thank you for joining)