Drawing on Metaphors


100 days: 22-28

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

~ Thomas Merton. 

Received wisdom states it take anything from a couple of weeks to almost a year to form a new habit to the point whereby it feels automatic. Of course some folk are more habitually inclined, and for anyone a habit that’s enjoyable is easier to fit into an exiting routine.

Existing routine – did you hear that? Like I understand the meaning of this phrase!

However, this daily drawing habit is a month old for me now, and I’m really enjoying it. Each day I’m learning more about myself in ways I never though would be possible through such a simple activity. After all, I probably draw something most days anyway. But this is different. This has got rules: use a phone photo. Even when you don’t want to. That’s the basis of all these drawings, even if it’s a scribbled outline with free-form-jazz-doodles going on inside and all around. And I post the drawing daily. Even when I don’t want to. So what you see here isn’t curated highlights, it’s the day-to-day ordinary.

Here is week 4:

 

day 22

   22 22a

It’s just about a year since I had an enormous revelation that I still can’t express in words. So I look for symbols instead, in the hope that by collecting them I’ll be able to turn the understanding into words I can share. It’s about connection and communication, it speaks of time and fragility. Impermanence, and the whole essence of what we’re here for. I can see it in this image and I can’t explain how. This week I had another revelation: I don’t have to have the words. I can just be with this as it is for now.

day 23

23 23a

I saw this in the V&A, I was entranced by the colours, the shape, the sheeny-shiny glaze, all those edges and faces. I want to make one of these!

day 24

24 24a

This guy was hanging around outside Barcelona Zoo- it’s ok, he wasn’t alone – there were a few of them.

day 25

25 25a

I’m back in the  Barcelona photos … cos it’s such a photogenic place! In a three day trip earlier this year I must have taken hundreds of photos. Already bewitched by the art of Antoni Gaudi, I was in bits when I found myself actually walking around inside of  it. 

day 26

26 26a

“What thinks?” Are thoughts generated somewhere inside this head? or is it a receiver for energy that’s outside of us? Today It feels like floating in a soup of information, drenched in world noise, trying not to drown.

I like to listen to podcasts as I draw. As an on/off meditator and long time student of Buddhist practice, I really enjoy the podcasts produced by the Insight Meditation Center, Audio Dharma. They get me thinking about thinking… 

day 27

27 27a

Who, what is this? He’s inspired by a series of fabulous creatures by Jane Alexander at the Tate Modern. Everyday I’m learning so much, about drawing, and on a deeper level through the drawing practice. My observation is getting sharper, but more importantly I’m getting better at course correcting when I don’t get it first time. And I’m kinder to the part of me that’s learning , practicing, not expecting a perfect representation (I’ve already got a photo- this is something else) I’m developing the art of allowing.

day 28

28 28a

When I’m not hung up on accuracy I can forget the details and just go for the essence. I can float back in time a few months and return to the awe that floated me around these magical dreamlike Gaudi buildings. I can’t pretend this is easy, but I’m learning. I am, and it is, all a work in progress. It’s such a trip.


If you missed the previous parts, you can find them here:

Week 1 ~ Week 2  ~ Week 3

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

 

 


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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Exploring through drawing


100 days: 14-21

“The way we do anything is the way we do everything.”

~ Martha Beck

Do you have patterns you keep falling back to?  

I’m three weeks into this 100 day project, and I’m noticing more patterns – not only the literal doodled patterns and shapes I return to in my drawings, but the patterns of thought in my behaviour and habits.

It’s the spirals and swirls, AND it’s the haphazardness and self talk that accompanies every process. The consistency of my inconsistency, how I dart between the extremes of all & nothing, the wonkiness of the line and skewed perspective, the mid range despair before conceding: this is my way. I gotta learn to like it, keep practicing, don’t stop and dwell here. Keep moving, keep learning, trust the process. 

 

Here is week 3:

 

day 14

14 IMG_8424

The 100 day project is teaching me so much already: about commitment for instance. I did not want to post this one. I could easily have drawn something else, or skipped on to the next day, and no-one but I would have known. But there’s the key: I would have known.

I’m doing this for all sorts of reasons, and getting better at drawing ‘real’ things is one of them. And showing up to myself is another thing. So here I am literally doing this! Morning panda eyes, this is me. (Oh, and how I see my hair: full of doodles.)

 

day 15

15 IMG_6591

The word that stood out in the whatever-I-was-listening-to today was Dissolve. I’m enjoying the connection between this, the meaning of ‘forming a solution’, merging to become a part of, and my unending seeking of answers. And to let all that dissolve too. Let it all go.

The photo I used is a fabulous light I saw in Barcelona. It’s like the sun ☀️ . .

 

day 16

16 Untitled-1

Somewhere between keeping it simple – 1 color, black pen & pencil – and totally over complicating with all the doodles and patterns. Both. Everything. All of it. .
One thing I’m working on in this project is the notion of leaving white space. Breathing space. Moments of quiet.

So by making quiet space a part of my drawings I’m training myself to let this into other parts of life too.

 

day 17

17 IMG_5998

I went to the Tate modern gallery on my birthday, and walking up from the station I was captivated by this image. So many lines and angles, triangles and patterns.

I just noticed the synchronicity of the numbers: Day 17, and my birthday is the 17th. I like when you his happens. I take it as a clue I’m on track with what I’m doing.

 

day 18

18 IMG_4559

‘Do What You Love’ it said, and round the corner ‘Love What You Do’.

That’s it. Right here. That’s what I’m doing.

 

day 19

19 19hat

Today is made of wonky lines of words and scribbles. Some days have more words than others, and this was one of them. Been thinking a lot about dreaming, last night was a series of distinct dreams within dreams, like Russian dolls, fractal layers.

This morning I found a podcast series about lucid dreaming, so that was my ‘morning drawing listening’ for today. .

 

day 20

20 IMG_0799

I take so many photos like this, I can’t resist the textures and patterns in stone walls 😊
The words ‘safe understanding’ meant something at the time I wrote them, but I either got distracted or overestimated what me-in-the-future would remember about the context. Nonetheless they’re good solid words to be on a wall.

There was a time when photos would exist only on paper, and once developed would get muddled and out of synch. I would not have kept the memory of seeing this wall in the chronological organisation that digital images have, so would have soon forgotten that today’s image was within minutes of the following (much more memorable) one. Things like this counter balance all that’s infuriating about digital life.

 

day 21

21 IMG_0823 (1)

I invited this girl I found while I was exploring Sacramento.  Last year I tripped across the states by train from Seattle to Chicago. I had just a few hours here between trains, it was early morning before the day had really woken up so I strolled around looking for art. And I found it!


If you missed the previous parts, you can find them here: Week 1 & Week 2

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

 

 


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!

penngregory_Mailchimp12TEtsyBanner

(and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color as a thank you for joining)
yearfullofcolorbypenngregory_page_01

 

resistance to drawing


Funny how some fragments of life become lodged in that part of the memory that keeps rolling back round to the front.

This was part of the conversation in my interview for art school 2 years ago…

Me: I’d really like to learn to draw
Tutor: Huh?
Me: Yeh, I can’t draw, y’know like real things
Tutor: Bullshit!  Fuck, I’m not meant to swear in interviews…

This was the point I knew I was going to fit in.

In class with same tutor some while later we were drawing the music that was playing – the topic came up again: But you are drawing a real thing… or are you saying music isn’t a real thing?

But I still have this resistance towards drawing. I accept I can (to a degree) do it, but something inside me chooses not to. But I want to. But I don’t.

The inner-squabble continues, meanwhile I splosh and splatter and doodle inside the familiar comfort zone, rarely stretching out to sketch and interpret shapes and objects.


Page 32 began with ink and coffee dregs – the ideal background for some drawing of real things! I started out with some stuff in my immediate view – scissors, water jug, paint brushes, my left hand.

Over this I drew some of the imagery from a vivid dream I had the night before. (After all, dreams are real things too, right?)

I will endeavour to do this again. Art is like all exercise – remember to stretch!