Sunday, January 5, 2014

post 52 and closing

So this is it. Blog post number 52.The end. Or the closing of a chapter, I really don’t know at this point. I kept my commitment to myself and I’m happy for that.

I like to think I’ve learned this past year. How much is difficult to determine.Yet I know I’ve learned a lot about what I can and cannot do. What my strengths are and my weaknesses. I’m not sure if I have the personality or talent to become professional in either writing or painting-certainly not painting, but I do know without a doubt that I have the determination to stick with it and improve. One effort in drawing or writing improves the other and at this point I can’t imagine not doing either one.

This past week I received also a pleasant surprise and one that befits the closure of this blog. Back in the beginning of the year I sent a mail art card to a small gallery asking for submissions for an exhibit.

 The exhibit was held in November. They received entries from around the world. Not a lot of entries but over a hundred. I received in the mail a brochure with the name of entrants and a mail art card submitted by a young girl.

Thank you Claire Brown for your wonderful drawing of martians, and thank you Laura Bucci for setting up the event. It was fun to participate.

With this blog I have a record of my attempts and endeavours. 2013 was a good year.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

new year

The year 2013 is quietly fading away. Only a few days remain before the New Year is heralded in with varying enthusiasm. I’ve enjoyed 2013. It has been a good year. I am curious what the New Year will bring. Will it alter greatly from the previous one? There is no way to know. I am wary and therefore detect some trepidation.

This blog is coming to an end. Only one more post to go before I call it quits. It has been an interesting experience and I’m glad I undertook it. Now I am ready for new experiences. My birthday just passed and I look at the oncoming years with a different sense of anticipation. I sense that I am capable of creating anything. I am limited only by my body’s limitations which are increasing each year. I sleep more, tire sooner and see with more difficulty. I could curse these limitations, but what’s the point? Better to accept them and work around them.

So what do I want to try in the New Year? Well more of the same of course. I’m still working on my book which is slowly becoming something I can be proud of. Or at least not be embarrassed of. Now that my foot is healed I plan to walk more. However mostly I want to experiment with my drawing, create more complex pictures and work at my skills so my confidence grows. That isn’t just a year’s plan but a lifetime one. After all, one never knows if a life may extend ten years or a day. So I’ll take it each day, filling each one with the goals of a lifetime.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

merry christmas, joyful soltice

I caught a cold.

My decreased energy levels were not just due to a demanding holiday season but because of some tiny virus playing havoc with my sinuses. Glands sore, nasal passages dripping, it did not bode well on the possibility of art and craft being accomplished. This is turned out okay. Books were welcome, as well as cups of tea, honey with whiskey, and besides, art is an annex to life and not the driving purpose of it. At least that is what I’ve read. I think it was a theory touted by Stephen King.

At this point the effects of the cold are dissipating. It has been a busy week at the workplace and so I would crawl home and into bed. Only in the last few days have I bothered to venture into my art room again. Not to draw and sketch but to make art of a different kind.

Years ago I used to decorate chicken eggs. The kids were small and we didn’t have much money but I liked fancy Christmas ornaments. So I made my own using chicken eggs. I did this for several years and made several eggs. Many I gave away. This year, since circumstances are not so very different from all those years ago, I am giving some away. To keep my stress level down I am giving away some older ones from my collection rather than making new ones. I also thought it was a good way to practice non-attachment: to give away something that has developed a sentimental value. I will make some more to take their place but I do not need to hurry. These are for me; I can relax and have fun over the coming days of vacation.

Soon it’ll be Christmas. The gift giving, sharing and socializing has already started. I hope that for anyone reading this blog that your holidays are full of good things such as memories, food and experiences and also much joy.

Sunday, December 15, 2013


At night, energy levels are low at this time of year. The dark days and busy Christmas season demands much. So much happens during the day there is little desire to repeat the same frantic pace at night. I’ve done a little sketching but much procrastinating, reading, listening to music and sleeping-especially sleeping.

I promised myself I would write 52 posts for this blog and then take a break. Perhaps quit this blog or start another one. I still don’t know. However the time of year is also one of reflection and I am pleased for having attempted this blog to begin with. While it did not evolve into what I hoped it would evolve to, which is something really interesting, the blog has been an excellent chronicle of my journey. Perhaps that is all it needed to be.

Writing the blog has made me a little more daring-more willing to take risks. I’ve tried things I’ve never tried before. My artwork has grown because of it. My art has also become brighter, less angry and that is rather nice too. I look at the header that tops this blog and yes I have made an investment in myself. As the New Year approaches I wonder what the next investment should be.

It will involve words and it will involve pencils, paints and paper. That I do know. The rest will reveal itself over time.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

humble student

I’ve read for years about how artists, to learn their craft, did master copies. I’ve poo-poohed it for the equal number of years. I couldn’t see much value in it. How could copying teach you anything? Art is about originality, I thought, and all good artists abandon the lessons taught to them. So why bother copying to begin with?

Boy was I wrong. Master copying is a real challenge. To get a decent replica takes careful study. In addition it takes cautious observation of how they render, to create an image with conservation of line. How did they create those magnificent eyes, strong shadows and edges? What did they focus detail on and what could be simply suggested? One master copy has taught me more than months of mere sketching. Master copying makes my sketching stronger.

I’ve been humbled.

I’ll still keep up the loose sketching of course since there is a place for both. However I am no longer a doubter on the value of copying the work of those who proceeded onto greatness. I will copy anything and everything that catches my eye to understand how it is done. My first two attempts do not look at all like the original. Yet the drawing has character in ways my old sketches do not. I will keep at it and hope that someday I create a sketch that is original and contains character.