I had a discussion with my friend Adam recently about the Inktober challenge I had done & also a challenge that he had posted on Facebook referring to the game of Being Seen. Part of what he was wanting to make people aware of with this challenge was that many people have the same (smiling/happy) profile picture for years or some people may be hesitant to post an unflattering/unedited picture. This essentially is an incomplete representation of the multifaceted & complex people we truly are. (For that matter, how many of your friends are paying attention? Or take the time to comment? What do they have to say about your expression that day?)
Now this is of a very positive pickle to find myself in. A constructive conundrum! I know when speaking with him that he is always encouraging people to go for it & aim higher! I want to be able to say “I did it!” when I see him next.
Adam, always aiming higher!
This caused me to realize
“I’m going to have to try this challenge too, aren’t I?”
He then one-upped me by specifying that I would need to DRAW myself every day for a week! 😲…
“Okay”, I thought, “I can do this, challenge accepted!”
Well I’m glad I made it to the end of Inktober, my latest online artistic challenge. But also glad that I restricted myself to 3 inch square drawings so as to not overwhelm myself. In reflection I think that I would do it & other similar challenges again.
This coming week in participating in a group art show at the Martin Bachelor Gallery which is themed Selfie. Or what they used to refer to back in the days of Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Kahlo etc as self portraits.
I have never been to Rome but as I have recently returned from Amsterdam, Barcelona & Paris. I can imagine to a small degree what it could be like: Narrow, cobbled streets lined with tall antiquated buildings (by my Victoria, BC standards, where some of the oldest buildings are 135-140 years old. Only babies by European or Asian standards!) in various states of decay/preservation, with cafe tables in every other doorway. I’ll get there eventually but for now, this surrogate ramble through the medium of Streetview with have to suffice.
While doing research for the Virtual Paintout the contrast of warm stucco against the cool sky caught my eye this time around. I also like the the negative space, the slightly cock-eyed “X” of the sky.
If your curious to see a glimpse of how Piazza del Paradiso appears in Streetview, click the link here, but remember you’ll need to crank your head way up to get the perspective.
An assortment of crows. All are acrylics except centre right which is watercolor on birch panel.
What can be learned by doing things really fast? Or really slow? Or in a series?
Many artists painted have the same subject over and over, from different angles (Monet’s Waterlilies) and others have painted the subject repeatedly looking the same (Warhol’s Marilyn silkscreens) in an effort to show that even with endless amounts of reproduction where on the surface they appear the same, the small smears and clogs give an individuality to each piece. Even in my attempts to manually reproduce the same familiar image from memory, each time there would be variations to the theme. Some I liked and of course others not so much.
What I found is that each time I repeat a subject (such as a bird) I become more aware of :
*the textures & highlights
*the shape & proportion
*the body language & movement
*seemingly subtle things such as the highlights of an eye can draw your attention
*the addition of a tiny prop like a cigarette can change the attitude
I hadn’t tried to give myself a time limit until I applied to compete in Art Battle, along with a few friends (Buddy System!).
My first reaction to the challenge was trepidation but the more I thought about it the old saying of “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” was lingering in the back of my mind. That’s when I made the dive and sent in an application, only then to panic with my acceptance!
I needed a plan of action so our group, which we soon dubbed “the A-Team” (an attempt to take on the strength & ingenuity of these iconic characters) put into motion several practice sessions, complete with timers, distractions and loud music (we had to learn to block these things out). We tried new images and old familiar ones to the point where it began to feel that our hands began to form a memory of their own for the twists and turns required, endeavoring to become more efficient in the movements each time. The results did surprise me at times and really made me consider whether some of the long drawn out hours necessarily paid off?
The day of the competition was loaded with adrenalin, unfamiliar materials and faces but I’m certainly glad I did it. Will I compete again? Only the future will tell but in the meantime I have a collection of birds in various sizes and shapes to contemplate and learn from 🙂