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.

 


Catch more of my musing and artings in my monthly-ish newsletter delivered right to your inbox: clickety-hop aboard my email list right here.

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

YearFullOfColorbyPennGregoryR2017_Page_01

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.   

moments of reflection


I enjoy my work; I’m self-employed so my time can be flexible, and while it’s not exciting it’s challenging and variable enough to be interesting.

I do my best not to snark when things don’t go my way, cos I’m mindful that so many ppl don’t have work, or have work that they relentlessly grumble about (with OR without good reason! 😉 ).

My work is totally non-artsy, and as such gives me a good ‘feet on the floor’ contrast to my creativity. Yin and Yang. It works.

Over the last few months I’ve spent more and more of my non-work time here in the world of WordPress. Daily I encounter more inspiration, ideas, shared thoughts and wishes, and overwhelming generosity of spirit than I ever would have imagined.

Out of world full of ppl, I must say you guys are really quite special.

Big love to you all! 😀 X

One Lovely Blogger


Big thank you to lovely blogger Not just a Mummy for the nomination. Here’s the deal:

  1. Link back to the blogger who nominated you
  2. Paste the award image on your blog
  3. Tell 7 facts about yourself
  4. Nominate 15 other blogs that you would like to give the award to
  5. Contact the bloggers that you have chosen and let them know about the award

Seven Facts:

  1. I’m fascinated by science, metaphysics and spirituality; I beleive in the power of positive thinking
  2. I passed my driving test first time, aged 29.
  3. I’m an avid recycler/upcycler. I will eke every last bit of use and goodness out of pretty much anything. I actually shudder a little at the word ‘disposable’
  4. I have an 18 yr old cat named ‘The Woozle’. She’s creaky and grumbles a LOT, but I love her all the same
  5. I’m hoping to go back to school in september to begin a degree in fine art
  6. Almost all my socks are stripey. There’s something about stripey socks makes me happy.
  7. Curiouser and curiouser, Alice in Wonderland is my fictional alter ego. (Well, one of them)

Fifteen Bloggers
Srsly? I’d love to, but I’m still a bit new here and haven’t met as many blogs as I’d like. 15? Holy Shmoly! Gonna skip this part for a while, but as I find new blogs of great loveliness I promise I’ll let you know. Deal? Cool! 🙂

the ABC of blogging


Well goshy goll! I’m very touched to be included in this award by Seascapeaus The ABC award asks the recipient to name 26 alphabetical things about themselves, so here we go (some cheating may occur) the A-Z of Ephemeral Gecko!

Ambient
Bouyant
Contradictory
Defining
Effervescent
Flowing
Giddying
Hopeful
Intriguing
Joyful
Kaleidoscopic
La la la….
Meandering
New
Open
Personal
Questioning
Real
Symbolic
Themed
Unaware
Voluminous
Wondering
Xtraordinary
Yellowish
Zingy

Now the deal here is that I should now be nominating another bunch of awesome bloggings, and these are they:

Bettina’s Treehouse A recent find for me, Bettina makes gorgeous mixed media (amongst other stuff) in truly delish colors. I look forward to exploring more of her art in the future and am sure you will too.

Dog River Cat House Studio Mixed media journalling filled with
vibrancy and spirited fun. And again, fabtastic colors 😀

Chocolate is a Verb so apart from the name, which I love, here is a fascinating collection of clever wordery + some marvelously colorful photos + ‘Frolics, Whims and Flavors’. What more could anyone want!

3 BIG thank yous


Thank you #1 goes to Phillipa aka Seascapesaus for nominating me for the Awesome Blog Content Award

Thank you also to Not Just A Mummy for the One Lovely Blog Award

And finally to Obscured Dreamer for the Illuminating Blogger Award

Guys, what can I say? I’m overwhelmed! When I began my foray into bloggery just a few months ago I could never have guessed at how much support and appreciation I’d find along the way. You guys are the best.

Sincere thanks. And cake! Have wonderful weekends, I’ll be posting more on the above over the weekend 😀