Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 252

At the moment I started this self-portrait, I had been awake for approximately 41 hours straight. I was in no mood to spend much time making art!

I grabbed a brush and a bottle of ink and got to it...

#252 June 29, 2011,  Ink

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Day 251

Today's self-portrait is uniquely singular.

One of my self-imposed rules for this project is that I will make one self-portrait each day for a complete year. A "day" is defined as the the period of time between the moment I wake up and the moment I go to sleep for the night. Even though this project is dated June 28, it was actually made around 8:30 am on June 29! In other words, I did not sleep last night. Never fear, this sleeplessness was self-imposed; I spent the night working on a major project. Regrettably, the project is not art-related. The good news is that it's a paying gig!

I made this drawing white sitting in a small restaurant waiting for my breakfast to arrive. While I didn't have a mirror to verify my appearance, I would be willing to bet that this was a pretty decent likeness...

#251 June 28, 2011,  Pen

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day 250

So, tonight I was told that I look like a caveman.

Then it became a hippy caveman.

After that it was an OLD hippy caveman.

I'm kinda glad the conversation ended there!

#250 June 27, 2011,  Ink

Monday, June 27, 2011

Day 249

As I was sitting down to do today's self-portrait, the final echoes of tonight's storm were rumbling outside. Just as I was about to put pencil to paper, a blinding flash of lightning lit up the sky and and a crash of thunder shook the windows of the house.

I love storms, but . . . yikes, indeed...

#249 June 26, 2011,  Pen

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day 248

I really like this one for a couple reasons. One of the main ones is that I think it captures a part of me pretty well.

A lot of times, I'll catch myself with this strange little smile. It never shows any teeth and is really more of an expression with my lips tucked in than an actual smile. It seems like this is what I give to people that either don't know or are just acquaintances. Of course, there are times when anyone and everyone can get it!

I've always wanted to work on this. I imagine that it looks a little goofy and besides, I'd like to offer up a little bit better smile to everyone...

#248 June 25, 2011,  Pen
Sounds: The Raconteurs, The Raconteurs

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Day 247

It's been awhile since I've used charcoal and an eraser, and I've missed it just a little. In many ways, it's similar to this drawing on Day 243 where I started with a charcoal-toned illustration board and painted the lighter areas in with white acrylic. 

I'm sure I'll come back to this style once or twice again before this is all over with...

#247 June 24, 2011,  Charcoal

Friday, June 24, 2011

Day 246

As I contemplated sitting down to draw, a strange image filled my mind. I saw my hand holding an Ebony pencil forming a circle on a piece of drawing paper. I could even "hear" an amplified version of the sound of pencil scratching across the paper's surface.

When I sat down to draw, I decided to work without much thinking, to allow intuition to take hold. One circle became nearly one hundred, which stopped with a "break" to make some shading with a blending stump. Upon returning to the pencil, another series of lines created a second dominant circle inside the first. Facial features were hinted at, then refined for the actual portrait.

While I say that I worked without thinking, that's a bit of a simplification. When making art, artists have to make constant choices and decisions regarding their work. As I think back to the time of making this drawing, I can pinpoint several conscious decisions I had to make: more lines here, darker lines there, shading here, the face itself there...

#246 June 23, 2011,  Ebony pencil

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day 245

I have used a red ballpoint pen a small handful of times throughout this project, and I've gotta say that I am always happy with the results. I am also pleased with the fact that it's not a medium that I have overused because of the success I felt like I've had.

It was never actually a conscious decision to work in so many different styles, but it has been a pleasant by-product. In retrospect, it's quite obvious that a person would drive themselves nuts to work in the same style and same medium for 365 days straight! And besides, I really like mixing it up...

#245 June 22, 2011, Ballpoint pen

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day 244

I once completed a survey which included various questions that were meant to be fun, but also to provide a glimpse into the subject's personality. One question asked: "What is your favorite word?"

My answer is: ABSOLUTELY.

I know that many people would answer "yes." And that's a very good word. But to me, using the word "absolutely" equates to "yes...most definitely and completely without any question or reservation whatsoever!"

#244 June 21, 2011,  Pen

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day 243

I had a conversation with a buddy today. He's also an artist and we were discussing how difficult it is to actually make art; rather, we talked about how hard it is to squeeze art-making into our already packed schedules.

I shared with him a realization I had a few years ago, but hadn't ever actually found a way to implement it. At that time, it occurred to me that the reason I was able to be prolific with art-making while in college was because - in part - I had due dates in order to complete projects.  At the time, I actually tried to make this happen, but without any real motivation (in this case, a grade), there was nothing to keep me from altering the "due date" at my personal convenience.

As we spoke, it became clear that this entire project is - among many other things - a daily due date over a year's time.  Most of the time I look forward to making my self-portrait each day, but sometimes it truly is nothing more than an obligation.  But making the artwork available to the world each day has built in the motivation to never try to put off the completion of each day's portrait until tomorrow..or the next day...or the next.  And that has made a world of difference in my output as an artist.

#243 June 20, 2011, Charcoal and acrylic on illustration board

Monday, June 20, 2011

Day 242

I recently read a blog that gave some interesting ideas for finding and/or recovering and/or maintaining artistic inspiration. It had some pretty great thoughts that I know I can use. Don't get me wrong, I am still having loads of fun with this project, but after 242 days straight, sometimes it's tough to get the motivation to do yet another self-portrait!

One of the ideas was to return to drawing like a kid.  When we were all younger, it was fun to draw - for hours - and all of our drawings were good.  Hell, they were great!  I paraphrase Picasso when I say: "Every child is an artist.  But what happens to the artist when the child grows up?"  This blog suggested laying on your belly on the floor and draw just as we all did so many years ago.  So I did.

Another suggestion was to draw without any preliminary pencil marks - just draw directly with pen.  Obviously this is a concept that I've visited before during this project, but I figured it would be a good idea this time around as well. 

And although the blog didn't necessarily mention having a drink while drawing, I figured that was a good idea as well...

#242 June 19, 2011,  Pen
Sounds: Ray LaMontagne, God Willin' & the Creek Don't Rise

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Day 241

In my writing from yesterday, I described the working process and timetable that I've used lately. And tonight's self-portrait was no different. Austin's ballgame, a multitude of small tasks, and the completion of a commissioned piece of art pushed the start time for this portrait back to nearly 2:00 am!

Yes, I know it looks a little (okay, a lot) like a monkey.  It wasn't intentional; I just started with a few loose lines to see what would happen...and THIS is what happened!

#241 June 18, 2011,  Pen and watercolor
Sounds: The Rainmakers, The Rainmakers


Happy Father's Day to Vernon Norris - I love you, Dad.

Also, Happy Father's Day to my brother Jeff, and to all the other rockin' awesome Dads out there!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day 240

I'm trying very hard to stop short of calling this image a "character," because technically as a self-portrait, it's actually me. So with that said, I'll say that this is simply a version of me. And I like it. A lot.

There are some parts of it that really are there.  The slicked-back hair.  The hoop earring with the ball.  (Someday I need to tell a really good earring story!)  And . . . I guess the fact that I have a couple eyes, a nose, and a mouth.

And there are some features that are altered from the real thing.  I really don't have a handlebar mustache or van Dyke beard.  (Although...)  And I like to think that I don't have an eye that is quite so extremely wonky!

#240 June 17, 2011,  Ink

I felt like I should create a smiling self-portrait on this day, in part to appease a few regular readers (okay, family members!) who have secretly expressed concern for my well-being.  In visiting with my mom yesterday, I was told that she's had numerous people ask if I'm doing okay.  The reasoning is that I've written many times lately expressing how tired, exhausted, and fatigued (physically or mentally) I have been while making my daily self-portraits.  And since she is not one to keep her worries to herself (bless her heart, that's what good mamas do!), she wanted to let me know that many people are thinking about me.

So, to those folks: thank you.

Here's the deal: we've got a lot of things going on this summer.  In between working a couple supplemental jobs that take place outdoors in the hot sun, the constant work needing to be done in the house, miles of highway burned up between home and Austin's ballgames, and teaching a summer class . . . you see where this is going.  Unfortunately, each day's self-portrait usually doesn't get completed until the early morning hours after everything else is done.

So it's not a health issue.  I promise!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Day 239

This drawing was made at the end of another long day. I spent about four hours total on the road and four hours at baseball games, so it was a bit of a long evening. Ironically, I wasn't dead tired when this self-portrait was made. For that reason, I felt like I was able to give it a bit more attention tonight.

This is one of those kind of drawings that isn't exactly ground-breaking. There's nothing special about the image, there's no angle or gimmick - it's simply a straight-forward representation of me (albeit, with hat hair!).

#239 June 16, 2011,  Ink
Sounds: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day 238

A drawing made very quickly late at night.

This one achieved a rare distinction: it has been a long time since I have literally fallen asleep while making a piece of art!

#238 June 15, 2011,  Pencil

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day 237

This portrait didn't start out to be nearly as loose as it has turned out. In fact, I planned for it to be a fairly straight-forward line drawing with brushed ink on ordinary paper. But something happened: a very large drop of ink fell from my brush and landed just below one of the eyes.

Rather than start over, I decided to run with it. I dropped more ink onto the paper. More ink was thrown onto the paper. The hair was drawn in with extrememly loose lines. And it's turned out to be a rather interesting representation of me...

#237 June 14, 2011,  Ink

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day 236

It seems like I can only go a short while with quasi-realism before I return to some sort of whimsical imagery. I like to think that I don't truly have a wonky eye or that thin of a hairline (yet!), but it sure is fun to draw that way!!

#236 June 13, 2011,  Ink and acrylic on paper

Monday, June 13, 2011

Day 235

It seems like I'm experiencing a recurring theme of ebbs and flows with this project. I'll go for a couple days making drawings that I consider pretty weak, which causes me to feel the need to spend more time on the next one as a way of making it up to myself. And I really like that feeling because it tells me that ultimately this project is just for me. Any time I make a drawing that I consider sub-standard, it frustrates me and I feel like I've let myself down. And at the times when I make a self-portrait that I consider to be much better, then I feel a strong sense of satisfaction.

Don't get me wrong: I love to share my art and I love to receive feedback (especially the positive kind!), but I've reached the point in this project where I'm going more on my sheer desire to keep going - to make the best art that I can on each given day. Sometimes I am successful, and sometimes I'm not. But I continue to be amazed how each and every self-portrait in this project is an accurate representation of my state of mind when the artwork was made.

#235 June12, 2011,  Ink and acrylic on paper
Sounds: Rainmakers, Tornado

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Day 234

When I was a kid, I used to have these toy people that were shaped like eggs. I don't really know how popular they were at the time, although I do rememeber commercials for them on TV, complete with a catchy little jingle. In a sense, I suppose the best description for them would be to make a comparison to Humpty Dumpty.

I can't really say that these toys were on my mind when I was making this drawing, but that little jingle came to mind immediately as I sat down to write this entry!

#234 June 11, 2011,  Pencil

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Day 233

These are the words Shana used to describe this self-portrait when she saw it:
"I like they way they're all done in different styles."

These are the words that I used to describe this self-portrait:
"It sucks."

I think it's interesting how someone can look at something they didn't make and find good things to say about it.  Or maybe she's just trying not to hurt my feelings!

#233 June 10, 2011,  Ink

Friday, June 10, 2011

Day 232

I'll admit, this is a bit of a strange pose, but it was originally going somewhere specific.

We drove through a pretty spectacular lightning storm tonight.  I've always been fascinated by lightning, even though I was absolutely petrified of storms when I was a kid.  Tonight I saw what appeared to be lots and lots of sky to ground lightning, as well as splintered bolts dancing across the sky. 

As I drove along with Emma, I decided that tonight's self-portrait would include lightning in some way.  When I sat down to draw, I cocked my head back and planned a dark background with bolts of lightning shooting from my eyes.  Obviously the plan changed just a little once I started working...

#232 June 9, 2011,  Ink and acrylic on paper

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day 231

This drawing was made at the end of a long, LONG day of working in the hot sun. I was lucky to even be awake at this point!

#231 June 8, 2011, Pencil

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Day 230

I think I've made it clear up to this point that I don't need for a self-portrait to be a "mirror image" of myself in order for it to be successful. I believe that a portrait can include such a wide variety of representations of a person that their physical likeness is completely unnecessary.

Then again, there are times when it's nice for the self-portrait to look like me; tonight is one of those times. There's a certain point in the creation of most artworks where I can tell that it's going to work. That precise moment is totally unpredictable and happens only when it's ready. Frankly, it didn't take long for that to happen tonight; I knew everything was clicking and this would be a nice artwork.

#230 June 7, 2011,  Charcoal

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Day 229

I hate to come off as whiney, but it was sure a long day. Unfortunately, it was one of those times where the end of the day came and, upon refection of what I accomplished, I realized...I didn't really get much done at all. So I suppose I should say that it felt like a long day.

I should say, however, that it was nice to spend some time relaxing to allow myself to recuperate a little.  This self-portrait was yet another one made after dozing off and then waking up on the sofa, so it was made with a tired mind and sleepy eyes.  Again, I like the scribbled lines and loose quality a lot.  With that said, however, I really feel like I owe myself a more in-depth portrait very soon...

#229 June 6, 2011,  Pen

Monday, June 6, 2011

Day 228

It was an incredibly late night...

#228 June 5, 2011,  Pen

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Day 227

As I sat staring at a blank piece of drawing paper, I wasn't sure what today's portrait would look like. In my mind, I went through a few different ideas but nothing really struck me as something I'd want to spend time on. As I took a swig from a bottle of beer, I noticed the label had a rabbit and a goat in a stare-down and liked where that took my thoughts.

Previously I've mentioned that I would like to be able to change my appearance each day, depending on my mood at any given time. I liked the idea of being in a stare-down with myself - appearing as I do now, and as I did a month or so ago.

And I promise, I was not in a bad mood! I just mimicked the irritated expressions on the faces of the animals...

#227 June 4, 2011,  Ink

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Day 226

This is another effect that I'm surprised I haven't done more often. I really like drawing something small, and then seeing how it looks when it's blown up larger. Everyone knows that when an image is shrunk, the detail is tightened up; in other words, all of the mistakes are more likely to be hidden!

But in this case, everything is enlarged - including all of those details that one might consider to be scribbled errors. This self-portrait was made with no preliminary pencil marks - just a pen drawn over itself again and again. I personally think it makes for a kinda cool-looking drawing...

#226 June 3, 2011,  Pen

Friday, June 3, 2011

Day 225

Today's self-portrait is a mix of several different recent styles and processes.

It's the same basic type of ink drawing that I have done numerous times throughout this project. However, in normal cases I have always erased my preliminary pencil line drawing after the ink dries; this time I did not because I like the looser, more spontaneous feeling. And after yesterday's drawings made with the ink dropper, I couldn't resist splattering some ink to finish things off!

#225 June 2, 2011,  Ink
Sounds: Butch Walker, Left of Self-Centered

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Day 224

It's been awhile since I've done this.

With nothing more than a bottle of ink and a dropper, I sat in front of a large sheet of Bristol board, and...

At this point, I stop just short of saying that "I got to work", however, because I think that's not the best way of describing what I did. I think it would be a lot more accurate to say that "I got to playing!"

Back in college, there were some of us that shared space in the sculpture studio. We were all upper level sculpture students and had a place that was set apart from the beginning level students. At any rate, when it came time to make art, we always said that we were "going to play in the studio" because it was simply too much fun to call it work!

I feel that way about this type of drawing. The entire paper is covered with 10 or 11 faces - some that look like me, and some that don't. But it was so much fun to make such loose, spontaneous, and whimsical drawings. I think I need to buy some more ink and do this again soon...

 #224 June 1, 2011,  Ink on bristol board

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Day 223

On several occasions, I've mentioned how I like eyes. Obviously a lot can be learned about a person by looking at their eyes because it's so difficult to fake an expression. And even if a person tries to fake it, there are so many little indicators that exposes the emotional forgery!

None of that is really true with this drawing. Frankly, I was in the process of drawing the entire face, but stopped with this because I really liked how it looked "unfinished."

#223 May 21, 2011,  Ink