Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day 314

As I look back, it really surprises me that I haven't included more images with skulls. To be honest, it's simply a piece of imagery that I love to draw or to look at in an artwork. In fact, I often say that I own a lot more shirts with skulls on them than a guy my age should probably have!

I don't have a personal interpretation for what this self-portrait means to me. I like the imagery, although it's not quite what I had in mind when I started the drawing. As is often the case, I took off in a slightly different direction. But as is also often the case, I'm very pleased with the results!

#314 August 30, 2011,  Pen

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Day 313

I was thinking about this portrait all day, wondering just how I would portray myself. I knew I wanted something with lightning or electricity, but wasn't totally sure how to picture it.

Would it be serious?

Should I make myself look dangerous?

Would it work with or without an environment or setting?

Ultimately, here's where I took the idea. I really like the texture of the background, but it's not so overpowering that it takes away from my image. And no, I decided to go with a bit more playful than creepy or scary.

On the other hand, I am shooting lightning bolts from my fingers, so I suppose there's just a hint of danger there!

#313 August 29, 2011,  Pen
Sounds: The Avett Brothers, Mignonette

Monday, August 29, 2011

Day 312

I've gotta admit, this drawing came out exactly as I had planned. I know myself and my drawing style well enough to appreciate the rarity of that occurrence.

It has been awhile since I've worked in charcoal, and it felt good to use it again. While I won't say that it's my favorite drawing medium (because it's not really), I should point out that just like any other material, it becomes much easier to control with continued practice.

#312 August 28, 2011,  Charcoal
Sounds:  Metallica, Death Magnetic

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Day 311

I can see several influences in this artwork, both intentional and some not so much.

I like the look of slight paranoia on my face as I look back over my shoulder.

I like the loose spindly lines of the hair especially - but really all of the lines share that quality.

I like the splattered effect that can be achieved by drawing directly with the ink dropper.

But when it comes down to it, this self-portrait started in a very simple place: I took a shower and just let my hair go wild once I got out.  I started with a few errant lines here and there to represent how I looked, and before I knew it . . . I had this.

#311 August 27, 2011,  Ink

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Day 310

When I finished this self-portrait - rather quickly, I might add - it was just one of those that happen every now and then. The kind that I really don't care for, but I share it anyway because, well, I did it and I didn't want to make a different one.

There was a bit of a gap from the time I finished it to the time I scanned it. Once it was cropped and put online, I had a slight change of heart. I like it a lot better. In reality, I think the main reason is that the drawing now has a long horizontal rectangluar format, so it's different from the standard shape that most images are presented in. I've always been drawn to unusual shapes when it comes to drawings or paintings, so this one fits right in!

On a side note, I've been having a good time trying to figure out what those trippy ink splotches look like!

#310 August 26, 2011,  Ink

Friday, August 26, 2011

Day 309

I had this idea a few days ago, and for one reason or another, it got pushed aside a couple times.  I like where it went - it has a bit of a mysterious Poe-quality to it.

My face was originally a little more abstracted than it looks now.  I decided to refine it just a bit when I added the pen over the basic pencil lines.  But it still has an angular and altered appearance to it.  And of course I'm happy with the bird, even if he only appears in shadow...

#309 August 25, 2011,  Pen

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Day 308

I had an idea where this drawing was going but - as is often the case - my plans changed. To be more specific, the original idea was for this drawing to be finished with pen. Now, I will admit that I would probably like the extreme darks that could be achieved with pen, and in the long run I'm sure I'd still be pleased with the outcome.

On the other hand, I wouldn't change any of the choices I made with this drawing. I won't go as far to say that it's one of my favorite self-portraits in this series, but I really like it. I like it a lot. And I look back with a smile at the exact moment that I decided to grab an Ebony pencil instead of that black pen. It made all the difference in the world when it comes to this drawing!

#308 August 24, 2011,  Ebony pencil

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Day 307

This drawing started as a quick and loose pencil sketch to get the basic form down. I liked the idea of the stylized hands and arms, but really had no idea what to do with them. Once I got them drawn in, it appeared as though I was doing some sort of strange breakdancing moves. That will never work!

Then it came to me: why not turn myself into a marionette?

Sounds like a plan...

#307 August 23, 2011,  Pen

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Day 306

I've said it so many times before: I love making faces!

One thing I've discovered about making self-portraits - a LOT of them - is that there comes a point when it's difficult to get motivated to make something new. Don't get me wrong, I really like this drawing. But when I sat down to work this evening, I really had no plan for where to take my art. Luckily, my reflection in a mirror was staring back at me, so once I started changing my expressions, I quickly found a direction for today's imagery.

#306 August 22, 2011,  Pen on vellum

Monday, August 22, 2011

Day 305

For the second day in a row, I started a self-portrait, only to abandon it in favor of a different one. Coincidentally enough, in both instances the second image displayed a much more pleasant expression and emotion.

I needed to get some things done in my office tonight. As I was waiting for my laptop to connect to the network, I grew more and more frustrated as it slowly crept toward the intended action. In other words, I was getting very mad.

I started a self-portrait that reflected that point of view. My face had a sneer. I drew a dialog box filled with exclamation points. And there were several lines surrounding my head that seemed to radiate my anger and frustration.

Then for some reason I added a blackbird near the bottom of the page. I haven't drawn a bird in a portrait for quite awhile, and I liked having him there. But inexplicably, I added some balloons to the bird and I imagined him floating past my angry face and high into the sky. And I thought that seemed like a better attitude for me as well.

Oddly enough, I calmed down. I took care of a few other tasks while waiting for the computer to do its thing. And sure enough - while it was still much slower than it really should've been - the laptop was semi-agreeable and I got my work finished.

Perhaps there's something to this...

#305 August 21, 2011,  Sharpie marker on legal pad

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Day 304

Believe it or not, this self-portrait was built solely around the design of the background. I don't point this out because it's anything special or out of the ordinary. In fact, it's obviously really quite simple and rather easy to create.

The reason I mention it is because the drawing that I've posted is actually the second one I started for today. The original self-portrait was a lot more detailed and a lot more "finished" in appearance. But more importantly, it didn't match my idea for the background at all.

So, in what some might call an act of stubbornness, I abandoned that drawing and started this one. As for myself, I'd rather call it an instance of remaining true to my vision, even if it was a very simple and plain background.

#304 August 20, 2011,  Pen

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Day 303

It has been brought to my attention that I haven't done any unique viewpoints for awhile. It seems like most of the recent self-portraits just show me looking right back at the viewer like a driver's license picture or a mugshot. So, today I decided to do something about that.

The idea actually came from a sketch that I did several years ago of a guy who was unzipping his shoulder, releasing a bird from his insides to fly free. It was an interesting idea and it worked better on the sketch because it wasn't bound by the same restrictions of semi-realism that this drawing is confined to. I drew a bird in, but it just didn't look right. So...I left the area empty.

And I wasn't happy with it at all.

The more I thought about it, the more it occurred to me that there was simply no purpose in portraying the body this abstracted way if I didn't show something emerging from it. What was the point, really?

So I added hundreds - perhaps thousands - of little dots.

What do they represent? Your guess is as good as mine. I suppose they could be bugs. Or tiny little birds. Or bubbles. Or maybe it's my soul transformed into tiny molecular particles.

Whatever they happen to be, the drawing is much better because of them.

#303 August 19, 2011,  Pen

Friday, August 19, 2011

Day 302

A friend who is a fellow art instructor told me tonight that she had been sharing this project with her students, and had used it as a teaching tool while they did their own self-portraits. This is not the first time I've been told this, and each time I hear it, I am so very moved. Of course, I'm proud of the project on a personal level (okay, more some days than others!) but it's pretty wonderful to inspire other people to make their own art as well!!

She said that her students really seemed to like the "freakier" self-portraits, such as the ones where I don't have eyes. I figured since I've focused on them several times lately, this would be a good opportunity to place a bit of an emphasis on my eyes by de-emphasizing them this time around.

Plus, I've gotta agree with those kids: I really love the freaky ones too!

#302 August 18, 2011,  Charcoal on brown paper bag
Sounds: The Beatles, The Beatles (The White Album)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Day 301

Several months ago, quite by accident, I noticed a very interesting effect that can be achieved with vellum. For those who don't know, vellum is a thin paper that would put one in mind of tracing paper. It also has a very cool texture that I've really come to enjoy working with (especially in pen).

With one drawing laying on top of another, I could clearly see each image, although the one underneath was obviously a little lighter and a bit blurry. At that moment, I knew I would do a self-portrait in that manner.

Well, it's taken awhile to get back to it. As I was working, it occurred to me that several eyes layered on top of each other gives a neat dizzy effect so I ran with it. This drawing actually uses a top sheet with two underneath, thus providing even more blur and reduction of detail.

#301 August 17, 2011,  Pen on vellum
Sounds: Buck Owens, The Very Best of Buck Owens, Vol. 1

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Day 300

I still love drawing on colored paper, and I think I love it more when it's a brown paper grocery bag!

#300 August 16, 2011,  Ink and acrylic on brown paper bag
Sounds: Butch Walker,  Letters

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Day 299

About mid-way through this drawing, I thought about what I said regarding yesterday's self-portrait. And the irony was not lost on me.

I love eyes and I love drawing them. However, yesterday's comments were all about obscuring one's vision, either intentionally or otherwise. So it was interesting to me that I wasn't taking those comments into consideration when I started tonight's self-portrait, yet it turned out as it did with four sets of my eyes.

And I would be remiss if I didn't mention the fact that this is yet another example of an artwork that started with a clear vision. And once I got underway, one thing changed...and then another...and then another, until ultimately the final result bears only a passing resemblance to my original idea.

#299 August 15, 2011,  Pen on vellum
Sounds:  Daughtry, Daughtry and Leave This Town

Monday, August 15, 2011

Day 298

For as long I can remember, I've been drawn to imagery that does something to a person's eyes. I am especially drawn to various forms of blindness or loss of eyesight. Of course, this can come in many ways: closed eyes, blindfolds, covered eyes, actual physical blindness, the list goes on.

In a sense, I suppose a shroud of mystery surrounds a person who cannot or chooses not to see what's around them. As for me, I tend to wonder what the person is thinking or the circumstances that cause them to look inward. When it comes to my art, it should be no surprise that I love keeping it a secret!

(As an aside, I'll point out that this self-portrait was made on a brown paper grocery bag. As I was cropping the image, I noticed the word "HUSKY" stamped on the bag and thought it would be fun to leave it!)

#298 August 14, 2011,  Ebony pencil and charcoal on brown paper bag
Sounds:  Ryan Adams, Gold

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Day 297

Music is and always has been a huge part of my life. I've always admitted to having very little actual talent or ability when it comes to making music, but I sure enjoy listening and watching it performed.

There are very few instances where I don't have sounds playing - sometimes I'm actively listening and sometimes it's merely background music, but it's almost always there. And like any true wanna-be rocker, I can spontaneously erupt with some fantastic air guitar!

#297 August 13, 2011,  Ink and acrylic on paper
Sounds:  a mix of tunes by Jeff Black

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Day 296

It's been awhile since I've used a red pen for my self-portrait. Throughout this project, I have made many discoveries about art materials - namely, I've found some that I didn't realize I would love using as much as I do.

I have been surprised at how much I enjoy working with a red ballpoint pen. I think that for me, the color is incredibly bold and can be symbolic in so many different ways. And frankly, the material simply handles in a way that I like.

#296 August 12, 2011,  Ballpoint pen

Friday, August 12, 2011

Day 295

One of my favorite meals in the world is corn on the cob and garden fresh sliced tomatoes. I had that meal tonight...

#295 Ausgust 11, 2011,  Pen and acrylic on vellum
Sounds: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Day 294

I'll admit that this one is a little strange.  I will also admit that when I sat down to draw, I had absolutely no idea what to do.  In fact, I couldn't even muster up enough inspiration to make a mark that could perhaps guide me along!

So I looked through an art magazine in hopes of discovering something to push me along.  Nothing...

...until the next to last page, when I saw a creature with a square head.  Interesting enough, I suppose.

A few marks here.  A few marks there.  And before I knew it, this strange robotic version of me happened!

#294 August 10, 2011,  Pen

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Day 293

Today I was waited on by a young lady who was in a less than stellar mood. My first thought was "Wow, she's a pretty grouchy gal."

But then I got to wondering whether that was an accurate assessment. Was she really a grouchy person in general? Or was she just in a bad mood at that particular moment?

Later in the evening, I came into contact with another lady who was a server in a restaurant.  She was obviously from another country because of her thick accent, which made it difficult to understand her.  To make matters worse, she spoke in a quiet voice, while the restaurant itself was pretty loud.  Plus, I'll readily admit that sometimes my hearing is not so great.  I'm sure that in my frustration, she thought that I was a grouchy guy!

So it really got me thinking about the way I will often pass judgment on people based on a one-time chance meeting.  A bad mood - or a good mood, for that matter - can be set off by any number of factors.  Sure, some people are naturally surly and some are naturally cheery, but it's pretty obvious that by and large we all have our mood swings.

#293 August 9, 2011,  Pen

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Day 292

It was the Ancient Romans who perfected the idea of the equestrian sculpture.  Capturing the likeness of a person in marble or broze had become so easy for them that they longed for another method of portraying a person.

The answer?

In addition to capturing the physical appearance of someone, they strove to show someone's personality.

One way of doing this was the use of the equestrian sculpture, or more simply, a person on a horse.

In this method, any of the several traits of the animal were transferred to the person riding it.  Power.  Dominance.  Gracefulness.  Beauty.  You name it.

Actually, the Romans weren't the first to mix human and animal traits.  The Ancient Egyptians placed the head of the pharaoh Khufu (or his son Chephren, depending on which story to believe) on a lion's body about 4,000 years ago.  (This is, of course, if you don't go for the Ancient Alien theory, but that's a story for another time.)

As for me, I love horses, but I decided to take it in another direction.  I pretty much always consider the rhinoceros to be my favorite zoo animal so that became my choice.  Whatever traits that could be attributed to a rhino...well, you be the judge.

#292 August 8, 2011,  Pen

Monday, August 8, 2011

Day 291

I got to noticing something while working on this drawing.  Circumstances kept me from using a mirror, so I was pretty much unable to work realistically.  And really, that was okay with me; I was more in the mood for something a little more lighthearted today anyhow.  So I drew in the basic oval shape of the head and started adding the rough features. 

And then it happened.

I realized that I added a smile to my face.

And it occurred to me that this has been the case in what seems more often than not lately.

I never thought that a lot of my previous drawings were made out of bad moods or depressed feelings.  And frankly, I still don't.  On the other hand, I know that there have been many occasions where I could have added a smile to my self-portrait but the mood simply didn't strike me. 

And I like the fact that the mood has struck me in that way so often...

#291 August 7, 2011,  Pen

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Day 290

Alright, I'll say it.

There is no way that this self-portrait compares to the one from yesterday. I had great intentions to keep the ball rolling with some more detailed art. But lo and behold, Emma came into the room exasperated because the dog had chewed one of her shoes. So I left artist mode and quickly became "Super Daddy"...and I'm happy to say that the shoe is now fixed!

Regrettably, the self-portrait was pushed aside momentarily. To be honest, I wouldn't change a single thing...

#290 August 6, 2011,  Pen on vellum

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Day 289

I was so stoked about working in a little more realistic style a couple days ago, that I was motivated to take it even farther today. I've said it before and I'll say it again: one of the great personal benefits to this project is that it's taught me to work much faster than I ever have before. In the past, I would pour over each and every minute detail of an artwork - so much that it would take me hours and days and weeks to complete a single drawing or painting. It's wonderful to have adopted a more economical method of working!

I would also like to add that I really enjoy the unfinished appearance to this drawing. The original idea was to add every detail, but as is often the case, the plan was altered while the drawing was in progress. I'm glad I did it this way - I think the result is quite nice...

#289 August 5, 2011,  Pencil on vellum
Sounds: Mumford and Sons, Sigh No More

Friday, August 5, 2011

Day 288

I know it's a little cheesy, but I love Las Vegas. They say that Disneyland is the happiest place on Earth, but I respectfully disagree; my choice is Vegas.

There's a lot to be said about the commercialization of the Strip. Hell, even "old Vegas" - Freemont Street - barely retains its original charm because of the ceiling, complete with giant video screens. But I'll still take it. I love to stroll the street and imagine running into Frank or Sammy or Dean stumbling out of a casino...drink in hand and a woman or two on their arm!

So, this is my tribute to one of my favorite places. I sure hope I can get back there soon...

#288 August 4, 2011,  Prismacolor on paper

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Day 287

I was pretty motivated to draw tonight. I'll admit that last night I wasn't terribly enthused, even though the finished drawing (actually it was more of a sketch) was kinda nice.

It seems like I've spent most of my time this summer doing the kind of work that involves lots of sweat and perserverance, either at our house or on paid jobs for others. And while it's very tiring, I love it. I love having the ability to do things that make people say "I wish I could do that!" And making art is no different.

Normally I tend to work very slow, but this drawing happened in less than a half hour. I love it when that happens! And I think it captured the mood pretty well: it was late at night so I was a little somber, but the quick and loose marks created a nice spontaneous feel.

#287 August 3, 2011,  Ebony pencil

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Day 286

Just a very quick little sketch for today's self-portrait. What can I say, though: I kinda like it...

#286 August 2, 2011,  Pencil

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day 285

One of my favorite personal discoveries that I've made so far during this project is just how fun it is to draw with nothing but a bottle of ink and a dropper.  It's such a blast to start with a full sheet of bristol board and just have at it!

As always, some of these bear a slight resemblance to me, but most of these don't look a thing like me at all! 

When I feel like I'm totally finished, the bristol board is filled with nearly 30 faces and an assortment of splatters and drips (some intentional and some not).   

Some of the faces are started by making general forms that aren't necessarily the shape of a real human head, but they make for some interesting imagery.  One thing that I really enjoy about this process is that it forces me to be loose; there's no way to control the ink 100%, so it leaves no choice but to go with the flow! 

(Pun kind of intended...)

#285 August 1, 2011,  Ink on bristol board

Monday, August 1, 2011

Day 284

Today I worked in a mix of a looser, nearly continuous line style with the elongated features of Amedeo Modigliani. It was a conscious decision to blend these two distinct qualities, and I think they mix together quite logically...

#284 July 31, 2011, Pen