100 lessons from 100 drawings


“Life imitates art” but art imitates life too.

(I read that as ‘art irritates life’ just now. Also true) 

 

100 daily drawings taught me a lot more about drawing, more than I realised I didn’t know. Drawing techniques, practicalities, possibilities, and all that comes along with steady daily practice.

But there seemed to be bigger lessons showing up as well.

These were observations I heard over and over again in my thoughts, page after page. Of course many of these revelations aren’t really about drawing. They are about everything.

In no particular order, these are the top 100 realisations that accompanied this project.

  1. It’s been an exercise in letting go of expectations, of ideal outcomes, and the accompanying paralysis of progress.
  2. I’m learning to let go of ‘finished looking’  – being finished – being a ‘piece of art’ (whatever that might be).
  3. Letting go of what other folks think, a neediness for approval or validation.
  4. Letting go of the rules. This is my book: my rules. Rule 1: there are no rules.
  5. ‘Drawing every day’ isn’t even a rule.
  6. Drawing for 100 days doesn’t mean 100 consecutive days.  Don’t make up excuses to stop. Pick up and start again. Keep doing this. Just get to 100. 
  7. The photo is only a guide, a suggestion, a jumping off point. This isn’t an exercise in copying. A drawing can’t be wrong.
  8. It doesn’t have to have the same colors, same shape, same perspective.
  9. It doesn’t have to be the same every day – the same time, the same ‘style’, the same anything. Just another day, another page, another drawing. Keep exploring the other-ness
  10. Some days have a flow to them – some days have an awkwardness – some days are fuelled by imagination – some days are an uphill slog.
  11. Some are bits of all of these and flit and flicker between.
  12. Some pages have words – information – data – facts – important-to-remembers.
  13. Some page’s words and rememberings are from another day and don’t make sense any more. And that’s okay.
  14. Some days are unfinished. They will stay that way. I don’t have to go back. (there is no real ‘finished’).
  15. Some days get lost and forgotten.
  16. Some days are just made for catch ups.
  17. Some catch ups are liberating – rejuvenating – expansive – explosions of imagination.
  18. Some catch ups are uncomfortable and riddled with angst.
  19. Some catch ups are a cold hard slog and bring up all the WHY???s


  20. Sometimes it feels like a trajectory that cannot fail.
  21. Sometimes it feels like losing footing – in slow motion – in the dark.
  22. Sometimes it feels like treading water – waiting – waiting – waiting….
  23. Sometimes it feels like falling – sinking – drowning.
  24. Some drawings take on their own life with unseen meaning.
  25. Some drawings take on their own life with an energy that didn’t come from me.
  26. Some drawings have their own momentum – I watch them take shape with the curiosity of an outside observer.
  27. Some drawings just don’t care. I could learn the most from these.
  28. Some drawings have to be inched out slowly.
  29. Some drawings surprise me by the reactions they evoke from others.
  30. Some drawings surprise me by the feelings they evoke in me.
  31. Some drawings overwhelm, some disappoint, some pass unjudged.
  32. Some drawings have stories that let out secrets.
  33. Some drawings are stories that hide more than they reveal.
  34. Some stories are universal, everyone recognises a little bit of it in themselves.
  35. Some stories are so deep they are unfathomable.

  36. Some projects are way larger than the sum of their parts. This is certainly one of them.
  37. Some projects are a stepping stone to a place I never knew existed before I started.
  38. Some projects are meant to be finite. Done is done.
  39. Some projects are meant to be repeated – reiterated – revisited.
  40. Some projects are not supposed to be finished. They hang….
  41. Some projects are so deeply enmeshed in a life, we are one and the same.
  42. Some projects are fun to watch – to join – to play along.
  43. Some projects never escape the confines of my mind, jammed up in the mechanism of the mental rotadex.
  44. Sometimes the purpose will shift and change midway through. Over and over. The act of shifting becomes the purpose.
  45. Sometimes the purpose won’t show itself until long after it’s over.
  46. Sometimes the purpose is only clear to others.
  47. Sometimes the purpose is only clear to me – and that’s all that matters.
  48. Sometimes the purpose is unique to everyone who witnesses it.
  49. Sometimes the purpose is unique to the season – or to the day.
  50. Sometimes the way it seems, is the way it is. Sometimes it’s not been close.
  51. Sometimes the way it seems is only a clue. It’s a seed, or a plan, or part of a bigger pattern.
  52. The more I look for patterns the more I see them.
  53. Patterns can be visual, patterns can be habitual, patterns repeat.
  54. Patterns within patterns fascinate me most.
  55. It’s ok to get stuck in one color for a while, the other colors will wait.
  56. It’s ok to use all the colors – or none of them – or not care which.
  57. It’ll never be finished, so keep moving forwards. 
  58. It’ll never be perfect, don’t ask it to be.
  59. This might not answer the questions you thought it would.
  60. This might not answer any questions. It might lead to more questions…
  61. This might have no meaning at all – right now – or ever. And that’s okay too.
  62. If a meaning wants to show itself to you, it will find a way.
  63. Whatever is underneath, showing through, is part of what is now. Let all the elements become parts of the whole. Allow the merge.
  64. Describe the drawing in words –  this is where the metaphors hide.
  65. Describe the drawing out loud,  it’s subtly different.
  66. Shift the emphasis foreground to background, positive to negative space. Dance in between them.
  67. Choose which details to use, which details to ignore, and which to make up.
  68. Choose the image from within the image.
  69. Find the art inside the photo.

  70. Notice how some images repeat, return and revisit.
  71. Notice how some characters keep showing up.
  72. Notice how some character’s expressions are the same: the face that asks: you still trying to draw me?
  73. Notice how color schemes repeat.
  74. Notice the themes of facing pages match unconsciously.
  75. Notice how time concertinas in and out when you count the days.
  76. Notice how the seemingly simple is really complex. And how the complex can be divided into manageable size bites.
  77. How complexity presents a challenge, then the victory, the good enough level of mastery.
  78. Balancing good enough against keep trying.
  79. Knowing when to stop, knowing when to keep going.
  80. How it’s all a freaking metaphor (and that’s all of these too).
  81. The bravery to pursue a doomed drawing, to trust it to turn around and turn out good, or just okay.
  82. The bravery to post a picture I didn’t like, and the ones I did.
  83. The bravery of sending these out into the wilds of the internet. It can be cold out there.
  84. The revelation that others might like what I didn’t, see a beauty I can’t.
  85. The revelation of turning the page, not looking back for a few weeks. How what’s on the page ‘gets better’ when it’s left to rest.
  86. The revelation of drawings I hated, that hold no strong feelings now. And drawings I loved.


  87. How much a background wash or splot of paint makes adds to a drawing.
  88. How much a patch of color shifts a mood.
  89. How much the character of the drawing is from the colors.
  90. How much a drawing style develops over time, but can’t be seen from such close quarters or day to day.
  91. How much a drawing style develops through simple repetition.
  92. How much simple repetition is the key to it all. How much simple repetition is the key to it all. How much simple repetition is the key to it all. 😉
  93. How ideas will hide and evade when called for, then descend en masse when it’s too late (and how it’s never really too late).
  94. How some ways of making are so ingrained I don’t know there are other ways.
  95. How chasing the other ways is part of the learning.
  96. How finding other ways leads to new kinds of learning.
  97. There are always going to be new ways of learning!
  98. The journey is a spiral. The path isn’t re-trodden, next loop around looks familiar, but the view has altered.
  99. The journey keeps going. Keeps going.
  100. The mixed emotions at the end of a project, the end of an adventure, the intangible closure.

 


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The magic of magenta


2017 is my year full of color, each month I dedicate to a new color: “TWELVTY” – 12 colors in 12 months, is a trip around the color wheel. And what a trip!

In August we explored red-violet: the magic of magenta, mauve & maroon!

Each month gets a few pages in the TWELVTY art journal, where I dive deep into pattern making and monochrome mixed media doodling.

 

Here’s how August’s pages turned out …. 
 

In September we explored the color Red — I’ll catch you up on this month soon!

 


Meanwhile, I’m fine tuning the details for the 2018 iteration of Twelvty. Yikes! 

Are you interested in exploring the color wheel with us next year?

If you’re even a little bit intrigued, why not hop on my mail list today. I’ll send you my eBook all about color to give you a flavour of the program, AND you’ll be first to hear about the launch closer to the time.

 

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A feast of purples


2017 is my year full of color, each month I dedicate to a new color: “TWELVTY” – 12 colors in 12 months, a trip around the color wheel. And what a trip!

July has been a feast of violet purples. 

Each month gets a few pages in the TWELVTY art journal, where I dive deep into pattern making and monochrome mixed media doodling.

Layer upon layer upon layer.
Circles in sqaures in circles in grids.
Stitching on ribbon on page edges.
Patterns of patterns.
Doodles and scribbles and more.
 

 

In August We move round to Red-Violet: from magenta to mauve. Good times!

 

 


All through this summer I’m offering a special discount in my Etsy Shop to all the folks on my mailing list – so clickety-hop aboard today if you want to snag a bargain!

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(and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color)

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100 days: 8-13


So here’s the thing: I’m not ordinarily a jump-out-of-bed-filled-with-enthusiasm-for-the-new-day kinda gal

(Oh, how I wish… I’m working on this one)

And I get twitchy at the thought of constraining myself to  a regular routine. 

I’m not quite sure why the disparity between the me I’d like to embody and the me I currently am, other than  – the reason for most things – people are complicated creatures.

It’s part of my BIG WHY behind taking on this challenge

It’s a practice within a practice, the bigger challenge of this life: to keep learning, keep evolving, keep shape-shifting – to become a morning person, a person who carries a sketchbook, a person who can draw circles and faces and recognisable things without drowning in judgement and criticism…. a person with a wholesome, creative, regular daily habit —  to who knows what next.

I figure only practice will get me from the version of the person I’m being now to the one I want to be next. One step in front of the other, one page at a time.


Here is week 2:

 

8/100

8 7

I am magnetised by trees, hypnotised. I can just stand and stare at them. And I do. One of the (many) reasons, I love the shapes the branches make – the gaps and spaces – like windows to the sky.

 

9/100

IMG_8366 IMG_0868

I forget what or where this was. I don’t think that matters much. What’s most interesting to me is all the metaphors this brings to mind. Today I’m thinking about junctions, connections, the joining togetherness and shifts in direction.

 

10/100

IMG_8404 IMG_8235

I notice how today I’m just not feeling it. I get caught up in the details and miss the bigger picture. The perspective is skewed and botched. And I say ‘but it’s art, it’s a drawing not an exact copy. It’s *inspired by* …’ while all the while I’m wanting to practice and get better at observing, at seeing the whole picture, at planning and scaling and accuracy and all that stuff. It’s all metaphors and it’s all practice.

 

11/100

IMG_8409 11

This is a path I’ve walked down hundreds of times, a shortcut between two rows of houses. In the morning the sun shines through the tunnel of overhanging trees and dapples the path. Already I’m thinking I’d like to revisit this photo, see it through the eyes of a me-on-another-day.

 

12/100

IMG_8431 IMG_0403

I found this curious group in a shop in Washington. I was travelling light so could only come away with this photo. In my drawing I could only fit three of the characters, so the others might appear later in the book (I feel like they should be together in some form). In the drawing the two on the left look a little conspiratorial while the green dude on the right looks worried. I only noticed this just now. What do they know that I don’t? Has separating them from the herd caused some friction? 

 

13/100

IMG_8435 13

It’s curious (to me) how taking a photo traps a moment, a memory, and holds it, contained in a little rectangle. This rectangle contains the mixed feelings of the drive to the airport, going home from a holiday, in a place I called my second home for sometime.

 


 

If you want to follow along this project day by day I’m posting on Instagram (where you can also see more WIP & detail pix) & Facebook

Do you have a daily creative practice? I’d love to know how you find it effects the way you make, the way you process your ideas…

 


All through this summer I’m offering a special discount in my Etsy Shop to all the folks on my mailing list – so clickety-hop aboard today if you want to snag a bargain!

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(and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color as a thank you for joining)
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gecko-versary


This week marks 5 whole years since I first posted here, since Ephemeral Gecko was born.

For reals? Yup.

This blog is the ongoing project of documenting those in between stages of my art – the ephemeral places – that places buried beneath layers of paint or existing just briefly before being deconstructed and reconstructed. Why gecko? idk…Just because. 

collage_mini_quilts_door
Marlene Glickman

So here’s a thing:

When I looked back I found my very first post here was about a textile artist – who I recently connected up with on social mediaMarlene Glickman. 

I love when life circles back on itself like this.

I first saw Marlene’s work when I was researching artists at college. I fell in love with her colors. There was a quote from her that really struck me:

“Making color and design decisions is sometimes difficult so I challenge myself to use only one color from the color wheel each month during my daily design exercises.”

I was so taken by this idea, I set upon a year long project of playing in just one color each month.

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12 colors in 2012

At the time I began this blog I was just 1/2 way through my third month, and that’s what my first post was about.

And now, here I am 5 years later — a whole lot of adventures and changes and challenges and life later — here I am: 1/2 way through the third month of the same project again.

This time it’s bigger, I’ve called it TWELVTY and I’ve got others journeying along on this adventure with me, but I’m in a parallel place again. Life moves in spirals.

 


Would you like to get sporadic updates on my thinkings and doings delivered right to your inbox? Hop onto my email list right here.

(and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color as a thank you for joining)

Your email is utterly safe to me. It will be wrapped up snug and nestled with a hot water bottle & a kitten until the spring arrives. I will bring it tea if it wakes up.

Spring Greens


Ever since I was a little kid, I always loved to sew.

Not just to be able to make things, but the actual meditative act of stitching.

The up & down, the back & forth, like the inhale & exhale, it’s a rhythm I melt into.

 

Textile Collage on Etsy

 

As part of my year full of color project, TWELVTY, I spent much February stitching together these gorgeous little textile wall art pieces from layers of hand-dyed recycled fabric, paper, buttons, beads and embroidered together with happy thoughts.

 

Textile Collage on Etsy

All of these concoctions are in the color of the month: ranging shades of yellow-green from luscious lime to opulent olive.

These ones are mounted on 8″ square canvas board. There are four, they’re equally lovely on their own, or grouped together as a little family.

 

You can find all of these creations (and more!)
in my Etsy shop

 

 


Would you like to get sporadic updates on my makings & doings delivered right to your inbox? Hop onto my email list right here.

(and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color as a thank you for joining)

Your email is utterly safe to me. It will be tucked up snug and nestled with a hot water bottle until the spring arrives. I will bring it fresh socks every three weeks, or as required.

art is everywhere…


…but you knew that, right?

I’ve been looking at some of my old sketchbooks. Back in 2011 I did a textile art workshop. The topic for our designs was grids.

The week before I’d been to the Kniting & Stitching Show at Ally Pally – I came home with bags of new goodies to play with, and a camera full of ideas.

I was really struck by these images of the frondy leaves against the metal framework of the glass roof. Grids!! These were the grids I focussed on at the workshop…

…which quickly evolved into these…

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You can see the real frondiness of the cut out pages come to life here…

The magic of this sketchbook, even 5 years on, I still get new ideas rush at me as I flick through the pages.

Do you look back through old art journals and sketchbooks? Do they keep sparking new ideas even years later? Next time you’ve got a few minutes spare and they’re ready to hand, open one up somewhere in the middle and see if it stirs some long forgotten inspiration. Seeds of thoughts you planted way-back-when. They might yet grow into something beautiful!

 


Would you like to get sporadic updates on my thinkings and doings delivered right to your inbox? Hop onto my email list right here.

(and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color as a thank you for joining)

Your email is utterly safe to me. It will be wrapped up snug in a fluffy blanket & nestled with a puppy until the spring arrives. I will bring it tea and a bun if it wakes up.

 

tick.. tick.. tick…


I don’t want you to miss out: today is the last day you can join TWELVTY!

What is TWELVTY?

  • It’s an adventure in color that runs throughout 2017.
  • It’s an enormous feast of resources to inspire your creative practice.
  • It’s an insight into my creative practice with weekly newsletters and videos.
  • It’s a community of like minded artists and creatives.
  • It’s an exploration into working with a single color at a time.
  • It’s an opportunity to build a body of work through the year.
  • Exclusive TWELVTY discounts in my Etsy store (where the fruits of my one-color arting appear at the end of each month)

………………….and so much more!

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I’ve made the decision to close new registrations at the end of February because  TWELVTY has really taken on a momentum far bigger than I expected! It would simply be too much to catch up on beyond this point.

Will TWELVTY run again next year? 

Right now, I really don’t think so, it’s taken over so much of my time and become all-encompassing. I love it – but next year I have other adventures lined up so it certainly won’t repeat this same format. It’s a real now or never!

Sign up today and you’ll get instant access to everything we’ve done so far. I really look forward to exploring the rest of the color wheel with you!


If TWELVTY isn’t your thing, but you’d like to be first to hear about my colorful doings and things, hop on my mailing list here

(Your email is absolutely safe with me, I’ll just pop by and check up on it time to time, feed it raisins & chocolate, maybe sing to it for a while, that sort of thing.)

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Be well, my friends, Much love to you all X

because


because a squillion things need doing.

because my eyes have soaked in so much color lately.

because time-lapse is the most fun thing in world.

 

today I made this:

Happy Birthday!


(But more on that in a moment… first let me set the scene…)

I was telling you about how TWELVTY has begun to take on a life of its own. It’s just a few weeks into its year long life and it’s not going the way I imagined…

Instead of being the set of 12 individual colored months, like I first planned, TWELVTY is turning into a story made of 12 chapters. They are woven together and already I can see that taken separately they lose the essential essence of the story. The full year of color has a life the months alone can’t provide. 

To begin I wanted to make this program available to join throughout the year, but what I didn’t know then was how all-encompassing it was to become! It’s grown beyond my imaginings, and to be honest if someone was to join later in the year I don’t think they’d get the full magic of being a part of TWELVTY just by accessing the material retrospectively.

So I’ve decided to close the doors on TWELVTY at the end of this month.
No more new recruits after the end of February. 
 

But wait up! that’s not all….
Before the doors close, as today is my birthday ………

I’m going to gift 2 FREE PLACES in TWELVTY 2017 in a Prize Draw.

The prize draw runs from Friday 17th Feb for ONE WEEK.
Winners will be notified Saturday 25th February.

 

Are you someone who gets all lit up about color?
Would you love to join a tribe of creatives who are just like us?

If so, just jump on my mailing list here and
reply to the welcome email with the title “I’M IN!”
to add your name to the hat for the prize draw.

(and as a welcome, you get this little ebook all about color when you join my list)

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Want to find out more about what’s in TWELVTY – it’s all  over here . I also did a big ole Q&A post over here. Or ask me in the comments – I’m massively excited about this – ask me anything! (anything about TWELVTY…I don’t have answers to much else!)

I don’t know if I’ll be offering this program again. Next year has different adventures in store for me, so this could be ‘now or never’, folks!