Week 3 is over. I’m starting to feel like a full-time artist so maybe this practice will help move me into that next stage of my work…as long as I leave space for yoga, meditation and music!
I have watched countless artists explain their craft in videos and workshops. Often they speak of maintaining physical and spiritual health while courting the paintbrush. There are some who only put brush to canvas and make a stroke as they breathe out. Others who hit the gym and build up muscle. Others who run marathons, and some who put on crazy music before starting to paint, dancing around the studio to loosen up and be focused.
For more than a year I have developed a daily practice of yoga, mostly thanks to Yoga with Adriene and now yoga with Travis Eliot, both on YouTube. In June I added a daily meditation practice, then in October I rented a cello and started to teach myself this dignified instrument. These three additions to each day bring me focus and intention with my artwork.
Not that you can see that in these daily attempts!! However, they are fun. They are far from my usual work that hangs in Artique gallery; instead they are practice runs, drills, creative adventures that, just like yoga and music and meditation, will add a certain something to my paintings. So, here’s this week’s creations:
Day 15 _ Self Portrait
I had already tried my hand at self portraits in week 1, and to be honest, I was the one who suggested this prompt. So, I created a self portrait that doesn’t look like me, but it was an interesting process. One of the other artists participating in the 100-day challenge said she had created a self portrait in a class where the instructor said to draw what the other hand is feeling. Use one hand to hold the pencil on the paper, close your eyes, then feel the contours of your face with the other hand and draw.
I think this practice has some merit. I think the mouth, chin and end of the nose seem roughly to be in the right places, whereas the ear hanging off the eye on what you see as the left side is waaaay out of place! I may try this again. I did learn that pencil doesn’t show up well on the camera and I had to retrace my line with a black crayon to be able to show you what I have done. Pen is probably a good idea, too.
Day 16 _ Movement
In September we visited Whistler for a few days. Fitzsimmons Creek flows rapidly down the centre between Upper and Lower Village. I spent a long time looking at this river, which has the beautiful whitened turquoise of water from a glacial source. I took many photos and this image is a zoomed in tiny portion of the river cascading over some rocks.
I used a tonne of white paint here, but before I got to that, I had to paint in the rocks. I’m not sure I’ve really created the veil-like quality of the original but it was fun to do!
Day 17 _ Repetition
It was sitting right in front of me on the table. A pencil. Instead of using it for drawing with, I drew it, repeatedly.
I realized that from my perspective the size of the pencil when at 12 o’clock was much shorter than when at 6 o’clock. The lighting was different, too, depending on where the pencil was.
I’m glad I chose to only draw the pencil four times, however, this was a good practice and nice to keep the paintbrush away from the canvas.
Day 18 _ Floral
I worked at Artique Art Gallery on Day 18 and so had to stray from the usual 10 x 10″ size. Back on Day 3 I submitted a painting of a double tulip that had bloomed in our garden last spring. Alongside that tulip were daffodils that bloomed for a good three weeks or more. These are those daffodils. There were also some black/purple tulips and I am sure I will paint or draw those before the 100 days are up.
I was thinking about composition as I drew these daffodils. I started with the central one then the one on the right. The one on the lower left was a bit of an afterthought because I do think many (but not all) things are better in threes.
Day 19 _ Collage
I come from the north of England. Each year mum sends a calendar of the Yorkshire Dales. The 2022 edition was sitting in my work area for a few days and it wasn’t long before I got out the scissors.
A calendar of 12 images doesn’t give much material for making a collage. I used six of those images to give you a sense of the Dales in different seasons. (I credit The Dalesman 2022 Yorkshire Dales calendar for the original images.)
Day 20 _ Mosaic
Last year I created a charcoal drawing of my husband. He didn’t like it. Admittedly, the mouth and chin were a little off. As I considered what to do for the prompt I went downstairs to the pile of old paintings and drawings never destined to be hung on the wall. We all have them, these piles of evidence of learning and growing.
The portrait caught my eye and I realized it would be easy to cut up. So, out came the scissors again, and my husband took on a different look.
I like it. I like the eye just above centre, like a third eye looking at the viewer. I like the ear directly below it and the eyes off to each side. It’s certainly an alternative way of looking at my beloved 🙂
Day 21 _ Dream or Memory
Have you ever been chased out of a dream by the arrival of an arachnid? Well, I have, several times. So, rather than Dream, I chose Nightmare.
It was fun to make up a night sky, with just a little cloud, and a few stars, and a city-scape of rooftops. Not so much fun was creating the cobweb and the inhabitant of the cobweb taking a flight down to the buildings. Even less fun was creating all of the other eight-legged freakies having a night out on the town!
And, if you think the flying spider looks like a swimming turtle…I know, you’re right, it does. But, it isn’t.
And so, another week is over. Coming up in Week 4 I explore the Group of 7 artists, catch up with one Master Painter a little older, and give contour drawing a whirl.
I hope you are enjoying this journey and feeling motivated to pick up that paintbrush, pen or crayon and start creating. To follow the challenge in real time, head over to the 100dayartchallenge2023 Facebook Group and see what everyone else has been up to. Thanks for reading 🙂