Friday, September 30, 2011

Day 344

I was pretty stoked to make this drawing.  After the horrible quality of yesterday's abomination (um, I meant: self-portrait), I felt a strong desire to redeem myself today.  I can't really say that I pulled out the big guns (so to speak) regarding my tools or processes, but it's certainly a little less than coincidence that I returned to pen for this one.  It should be noted, however, that pen was the secondary material this time; I started with a loose pencil drawing, which was then covered with an ink wash.  The pen was actually added only after the ink had dried.

#344 September 29, 2011,  Ink wash and pen

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Day 343

I'll admit it: I hit a wall. I was doing so well with the self-portraits lately and it felt damned good to be pleased with my work on an everyday basis. Then life caught up with me, and I do . . . this.

On the other hand, it's proof that everyone has their off days. I'm confident that I'll bounce right back on the next one!

#343 September 28, 2011,  Pen

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Day 342

Near the beginning of this project, I made a prediction that I would use an Ebony pencil more than any other material. That hasn't exactly been the case, primarily because I fell in love with using both ink and pens; each of those have been my go-to mediums over the past several months.

With that said, I still say that the Ebony pencil is one of my favorite drawing materials. And it's a good thing: when it came time to make this self-portrait, I was not in the mood. I was tired and cranky and I had a headache. I can't really say that any of that changed once I started working, but miraculously, I perservered and finished with a drawing that I'm very happy with.

#342 September 27, 2011,  Ebony pencil

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Day 341

I've had this image in my head for a few days now, but put it on hold because of other ideas that I felt were either better or ones that I simply had more desire to work on.

Once again, there's a bit of mystery: is the hand releasing the birds or capturing them? I think it could be read either way, and I personally really like the potential symbolism for each possibility.

#341 September 26, 2011,  Pen
Sounds: Butch Walker, Letters

Monday, September 26, 2011

Day 340

In order to complete this self-portrait, I had to enlist some help. Throughout this project, I've made numerous drawings drawings with voice balloons (usually depicting a statement made by a bird). This time, however, I completely drew a blank at what the bird should be saying.

So I went to class and asked the opinion of my students. Essentially, I asked "What is the bird saying?" And I got so many great answers in return, I decided to present a Top 10 of my favorites!

10. "Why so serious?"

9. " nothing? That's what I thought. Just keep laughing!"

8. "R A W W W W R! . . . peep?"

7. "Are you my mother?"
(With this one, it occurred to me that the bird I drew did bear a slight resemblance to the one in a book by P.D. Eastman...)

6. "Looking good today, jim."

5. "Never more."
(I can certainly appreciate the Edgar Allan Poe reference...)

4. "Furthermore..."
(When I first read this, I did NOT really see it as a Poe reference; I just thought it applied because the bird could appear to be lecturing...)

3. "I am not a bird."
(I really like where this one comes from. In my Art Appreciation class, we spoke about Rene Magritte's painting The Treachery of Images, which is a painting of what looks like a pipe and the words "This is not a pipe." The point is that it really is NOT a pipe: it's an IMAGE of a pipe. I guess this really isn't a bird either...)

2. "Hey man, I just shit on your car."
(This one just made me laugh...)

And the number one answer - which made it onto the actual drawing - reminded me of a Will Ferrell sketch on Saturday Night Live...

#340 September 25, 2011,  Ink wash and pen on wood panel

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Day 339

It seems like it's been awhile since I've done several of the things that are present in this self-portrait.

I love working in charcoal, which I haven't done for several days.

I love working on colored papar, especially on an ordinary brown paper bag. (The texture is fabulous!)

And Katey asked me to do a self-portrait that was more realistic because some of her favorites throughout this entire project were those that favored realism.

I suppose I can go one step farther and mention that it's obvious on which days I've had more time to make my self-portrait. That's been one thing that should have been predictable when I originally started this project...yet it wasn't. Don't get me wrong: I have still been relatively pleased with all of my artworks, even the vast majority of those on days where I didn't have a large amount of time to devote to art-making. But I really think that in the beginning I expected to be able to work for an extended period of time each day. And regrettably, it didn't work out that way.

But I have made some pretty significant changes in my lifestyle over the past few weeks and have committed to a re-focus toward the things that are truly important (while abandoning those that are utterly meaningless)...and it has made a world of difference. I feel a sense of renewal to be as productive as I have been, and I have no doubt that I will fight like hell to keep the momentum going...

#339 September 24, 2011,  Charcoal on brown paper bag

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Day 338

I recently made a self-portrait on Day 328 where I displayed my passing interest in astronomy.  While working on that particular drawing, I had the idea for this one.  One thing led to another and I didn't get to follow through with the idea until today.

I really love the questions that ponder what we really are, what our purpose is, where did we come from, how did we get here...and so on.  There is a notion suggesting that our universe could really be just a molecule in someone's fingernail...or that we could have an entire universe on our own fingertip!

#338 September 23, 2011,  Pen, ink wash, and acrylic on bristol board
Sounds:  The Civil Wars, Barton Hollow

Friday, September 23, 2011

Day 337

Here's a bit of irony when comparing today's self-portrait and the one from the day before: yesterday's drawing was made hastily because of extreme exhaustion and simply because I didn't want to fall asleep while making it!

This is drawing is different in that, while I was once again very tired prior to sitting down to draw, once I had a pen in my hand, I was wide awake!

More irony: obviously the image itself betrays my true mindset at the time...

#337 September 22, 2011,  Pen
Sounds:  The Raconteurs, Consolers of the Lonely

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Day 336

I have a good story to tell. Or maybe it's a funny story. I don't know, at the very least, it's embarassing.

As I have done for the past several nights, I laid down on the floor to make my art; it seems like a very child-like thing to do, and I have found it fun to make art in the way a kid would do it. It wasn't terribly late when I started this drawing, but for some reason (perhaps it was because I was laying down!) I got really tired. Really fast.

And . . . I fell asleep while drawing no less than four times!

Now, this is not the first time that I've fallen asleep while making an artwork during this entire project.  However, this is the first time that the drawing had evidence revealing that it happened - there are errant lines everywhere!  Once the drawing was completed (such as it was), I got up and went to the bathroom.  When I returned, apparently I summoned enough consciousness to realize that it was a terrible piece of art!  (Upon looking at it the after waking, it was revealed to be a completely horrific terrible piece of art!)

As if the story hasn't been embarassing enough up to this point, it gets worse.  Knowing that the self-portrait was not good, I decided to make another one.  Apparently I was coherent enough to know that I'd likely fall asleep again and again if I resumed the previous position, so I made a change.  This time I balanced on my hands and knees in the crawling position and bent down to draw into my sketchbook that remained on the floor!  I'm sure I looked very strange, but at least the second attempt was slightly better.  At least it was better enough to actually include it...

#336 September 21, 2011,  Pencil

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Day 335

It happened again.

I cannot even stress enough how awesome it feels to have an idea surprise me with its intensity and its refusal to leave my mind. As the day wound down, and evening became night, and night became later and later, I found myself working on a written project (incidentally, something that I was quite proud of). This was something that could not be delayed, so regrettably, the day's self-portrait was what had to wait.

Here's the good news.

I've always been a bit of a procrastinator. To put it another way, I generally will wait until the last possible moment to complete a project. Although I've had a few close calls over the years, I've never been completely burned by handling things this way. In fact, when something turns out really well, I tend to praise myself for waiting because the idea, the process, the technique...everything...might have been different and the project could have suffered for it.  While I will readily admit that these projects potentially could have been even better if I had started and completed them earlier, I choose not to focus on the what-ifs in that regard.

With that said, I don't think it matters what this drawing is about.  I throw that out for two reasons: 1.) the image is unique and interesting enough that I believe the viewer can become actively involved with deciphering of their own, because 2.) frankly, I have no idea what it means anyway!

#335 September 20, 2011, Pen
Sounds:  Murderdolls,  Beyond the Valley of the Murderdolls and Women and Children Last

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Day 334

I've never been a huge fan of comic books. I wish I had been, but there wasn't much variety in town when I grew up (there still isn't) and in the pre-internet days of my youth, it was difficult to find anything beyond the absolute basics.

With that said, I suppose that it's never too late to become a fan and to develop an interest in comics. My first thought is: "Like I have the time or the money to invest in something else!"  And it seems as though the main storylines are so rich with colorful history that it would be nearly impossible to catch up, although I'm sure my buddy Robert would appreciate it if I didn't have to ask him why this or that happens every time we see a comic book adaptation movie!

When I laid down to make today's self-portrait, I struggled with where I should even start.  In my frustration, I rested my head . . . and woke up about 45 minutes later!  Perhaps the rest was worth it, however, because I awoke with an idea in mind and immediately put pencil to paper.  I'm not sure where the grimacing comic book-style imagery came from, but I like it.  Maybe I need to make it a point to locate a store and carve out some time browsing for comics!

#334 September 19, 2011,  Pen

Monday, September 19, 2011

Day 333

I've been extremely pleased the past couple drawings, and most of them from the last two weeks or so. It's very strange, but to use an extremely cliched term, I literally feel like I'm in some kind of "zone" where art-making flows almost effortlessly from my hand and onto the paper. It's a pretty great feeling!

In one of my classes, I speak about how art can be many things. One of these is the fact that art and art-making satisfies the personal needs of a person not only as an artist, but also as a human being. In this case, however, I'm thinking specifically as an artist. During most of the past several nights, I was nearly exhausted when I finally had the chance to sit down to make the day's self-portrait and I was certain that it would merely be a two-minute sketch with loose marks scrawled across the paper as nothing more than a hurried completion of the day's required artwork. But once I actually put pencil (or pen) to paper, something interesting happened: the exhaustion faded away and I was overcome with a vigor that pushed me to go beyond just the bare minimum and make an artwork that would matter to me...and hopefully to others.

All I can say is this: I love being an artist. In many ways, it is not just what I am, but who I am. I think that's a pretty cool feeling...

#333 September 18, 2011,  Pen
Sounds:  Jeff Black, Honey and Salt

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Day 332

I love it when an idea hits me from out of the blue, completely taking hold and not letting go.

I was thinking some things about my relationship with Shana and had some poetic words come to mind about how she has the key to my heart. Sugary sweet things like that.

But very true things, nonetheless.

I love communicating with the written word, but my heart truly lies in visual imagery. Once the original idea came to me, the picture shot into my mind like a lightning bolt. This is one of my favorite self-portraits that I've made over the past several months because of both the idea and the drawing itself. It feels pretty awesome when I can feel like I've pretty much nailed it...

#332 September 17, 2011,  Pen
Sounds: Allison Moorer, Crows

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Day 331

At the end of a spectacular evening, I couldn't wipe the smile from my face. Shana and I hadn't done anything terribly exciting or out of the ordinary, but we had been together. And just like every other day of my life, my love for her was completely reaffirmed. How could I not smile?!

#331 September 16, 2011,  Ink

Friday, September 16, 2011

Day 330

This self-portrait is a pretty stark departure from the previous one. Yesterday, I carefully drew the image with pencil, and then went over those lines even more carefully with pen. It was meant to look as clean and crisp as possible.

Today, on the other hand, I decided to loosen things up a lot. No pre-drawing in pencil. No care taken to make sure the line work was smooth and clean. Nope, this time I decided to work in a more spur of the moment manner and shoot for a more spontaneous appearance.

While I can't honestly say I like this one better than yesterday's, I am strangely drawn to it. I think both are pretty reasonable respresentations of me...

#330 September 15, 2011,  Pen

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Day 329

There isn't a story about today's artwork - it simply was about having some fun. And it really was a blast to make this one! The one thing I regret, I suppose, was the the drawing came together so quickly that it was finished before I knew it...

(And yes, it's another picture of me in what's been called "that stupid hat"...a notion which I completely disregard!)

#329 September 14, 2011,  Pen
Sounds: Butch Walker and the Let's-Go-Out-Tonites, Butch Walker and the Let's-Go-Out-Tonites

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Day 328

Way back in college, I took an astronomy class. It was one of those courses that would satisfy a science credit, plus it was a night class that only met once a week, so I figured it would be a good option for me. Little did I know that I would absolutely love it!

Now, I won't say that I've kept up on the subject, although I do enjoy a good book, article, or documentary on astronomy every now and then.

When I was making this drawing, I decided to add something to my blindfolded image...something a little light-hearted. So, I referred back to my toolbox of tricks and opened up a doorway to the inside of my mind. For those following along, I've mentioned before how I love to create doors or drawers or some other sort of opening into the body. Hell, I even have a tattoo that could be read as a star-shaped opening into my body, revealing a hurricane inside!

Interestingly, the portal didn't resemble my standard door; rather, it looked a lot like the opening at the top of an observatory. Sure, I could have created a large telescope protruding from my skull, but I decided to take it in a slightly different direction...

#328 September 13, 2011,  Pen
Sounds: The Avett Brothers, Four Thieves Gone (The Robbinsville Sessions)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Day 327

This "double-headed" imagery was something I first explored on Day 265 and then again on Day 314, with varying degrees of success each time.  When I really think about it, I believe this one is my favorite of the three.

To be honest, the most difficult thing about this self-portrait is deciding which way I like it best!

#327 September 12, 2011,  Pen on vellum

Monday, September 12, 2011

Day 326

There's not a lot of hidden meaning in today's self-portrait. I started the drawing, decided to add the bird, and then added the dialog box (another characteristic that I've added to my art at some point or another during this project).

Once I finished, however, it occurred to me that the phrase "A little birdy told me..." could be fittingly added to the imagery!

#326 September 11, 2011,  Pen

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Day 325

This drawing evolved pretty significantly as it was in the process-phase. I love the star imagery and frequently use it in my own art. At one point or another, I decided to put one of my eyes inside a star. (I really like the loose lines used throughout, but especially on the edges of the star!)

As I was nearing the end of brushing on the ink, it became clear that the drawing was lacking something. That something revealed itself as the need for some color.

I don't know how or why it happened that I blackened the eye, but I will say that it ultimately wasn't an accidental thing.  In other words, I had the idea and then put it on paper.  This is different from the time a person in one of my paintings received a black eye simply because I dropped some blue paint near their eye and as I tried to remove it, I liked how it looked!  (Incidentally, the meaning of that painting changed dramatically at that very moment...)

I like this image a lot, but as always I'll leave it open to various interpretations.  I will say this, however: a black eye can represent many different things so this self-portrait can and does have many different meanings.  One idea that I'm drawn to as I write this, though, is that sometimes a person might feel like they are repeatedly beaten down, yet they keep coming back for more.  Personally, I think that perserverance and tenacity are pretty great and admirable character traits...

#325 September 10, 2011,  Ink and colored pencil
Sounds: The Rainmakers, Flirting with the Universe

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Day 324

I suppose this drawing is a mix of a couple "needs" that I had.

Just like a few days ago when I felt like I needed to break away from using the same materials over and over, I also wanted a bit of a change with this self-portrait. The problem is, I've taken to making a lot of my art while laying in bed at the end of the day, so using something like spray paint or anything messy was pretty much out of the question!

Instead, the "change" I made was actually another of the needs that I mentioned: to devote a little more time than I had in recent artworks. Now, I won't go so far as to say that I spent hours and hours on this drawing, but it was a little more thought out than some from the past week or so.

(I certainly didn't fall asleep during the making of this one!)

#324 September 9, 2011,  Pen
Sounds:  Big Smith, Big Smith

Friday, September 9, 2011

Day 323

I hate to admit it, but I fell asleep at least three times while working on this self-portrait! And judging from the quality, I think it shows!!

#323 September 8, 2011,  Pen

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Day 322

I was ready for something completely different today. I felt like I've been so reliant on either pencils or pens, that I've fallen into a bit of a rut with the project. So today, while my students worked on their own projects and I lamented the absence of my computer which prevented me from doing any office work, I decided to work on my self-portrait.

I discovered a small 4x4 inch wood panel that I had primed a couple months ago. So I grabbed a couple pencils and started off to work...

Wait a minute!! I thought I was trying to break out of a rut! Pencil would've created a nice effect on that surface, but it wasn't different enough.

So, I grabbed a starburst-shaped stencil that I had cut two or three years ago and a couple cans of spray paint to create a background. Then it was time for some acrylic paint . . . but no realistic colors!!

All in all, I had a lot of fun making this self-portrait. I have a thought about what it means to me personally, but after giving so much explanation yesterday, I think I'll let the image speak for itself this time...

#322 September 7, 2011,  Spray paint and acrylic on wood panel
Sounds: Butch Walker & the Black Widows, The Spade

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Day 321

I've been exploring the idea of using blindfolds in my art for several years now. There are so many ways of looking at the symbolism of what it could potentially mean.

Of course, there's the literal type blindness where a person does not have the physical ability to see. But that's rarely what I'm referring to when I portray a person with a blindfold.

Sometimes people are "blind" to events happening around them, often because of the devious nature of another person or because of a larger event at hand. Sadly, this usually ends with some sort of revelation that may or may not be a positive experience. That's not what this self-portrait is about.

Sometimes a person chooses not to see something. In these cases, perhaps they simply don't want to admit or accept a certain truth.  Or maybe they're just too stubborn in their beliefs or opinions to see any other point of view.  This is clearly a form of blindness!  And no, this is not at all what this drawing is about either.

Sometimes a person blinds themselves to things, or people, or events that really don't matter or could even be potentially harmful to them.  I suppose that psychologically speaking, this is nothing more than a form of self-defense.  

But when it comes down to it, this self-portrait is all about a guy who is madly in love with a girl.  And there is no other woman who could even compare in his eyes.  And he wants nothing more than to hold on to that girl for the rest of his life...

#321 September 6, 2011,  Pen

A great article about the project...

There was a fabulous article recently published in the alumni magazine of The Univerity of  Central Missouri about me and "the self-portrait project."  I have always been very proud of attending CMSU (my only real issue is that I cannot accept the name change to UCM!) and I consider it a fabulous honor to be featured in Today Magazine.

365 Faces of jim
Blogger Finds Discipline in Daily Self-Portrait Project
by Dalene Abner

(Click on pages for larger view)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Day 320

There's a story behind this drawing. 

And it should come as no surprise that I'm not telling what it is!!

What I will share is that it was certainly nice to create a more lighthearted self-portrait tonight.  I know that the past several drawings have been pretty heavy, and I've not been very happy about that.  On the other hand, I usually haven't made a huge effort to conceal my frame of mind during the making of each self-portrait. I am very much of the belief that a person's emotions or feelings are huge contributing factors in the way they see themselves. 

In other words, I was quite happy when I made this drawing!!

#320 September 5, 2011,  Pen and ink wash

Monday, September 5, 2011

Day 319

This drawing makes me very sad. Possibly moreso that any other that has been made during this entire project.

I personally think there's nothing worse than a child who has been let down by an adult, a friend, or just a certain situation. Or maybe sometimes that child has done something that turned out worse than they would've ever dreamed and they feel terrible for what they did. 

The idea for this drawing came to me while laying in bed at the end of a particularly bad couple days filled with more ups and downs than a roller coaster.  In fact, it really didn't manifest itself in the form of an idea - the drawing just happened.  I like it when it works out that way.  I think it means that the artwork comes from someplace very pure.

#319 September 4, 2011,  Pen

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Day 318

Sometimes you just have one of those days.

And sometimes those days last for several days...

#318 September 3, 2011,  Pen

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Day 317

So many different emotions, so little paper to draw them all!!

#317 September 2, 2011,  Pen

Friday, September 2, 2011

Day 316

I'm not exactly sure if there's anything groundbreaking or earth-shattering to say about today's portrait.  Frankly, I was completely unsure where to even make the first mark on the paper.  However, once I saw a CD cover laying nearby, I stole the pose from the artist on the cover...and that was that...

#316 September 1, 2011,  Pen

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Day 315

We all have our bad days sometimes. Today was one of the worst.

The saddest reality is that I brought it all on myself.

The good thing that came from the entire day was that I really feel like I learned a lot about myself. Of course, I also find this to be a very strange concept. After all, I'm 40 years old - one would think that I'd know myself pretty well. And maybe those things weren't actually learned, but were things that I realized...or perhaps admitted...about who I am.

What I know is that there are elements to my personality - and my overall being - that I simply don't like. These are things that make me what I would call a bad person. They are traits that I consider completely unacceptable to continue.

Good news! After visiting with three different friends who provided advice from three very different points of view, I know how to make the changes I need to make. It feels incredibly empowering to know not only what I need to do, but to feel the sense of satisfaction to immediately put the wheels in motion for positive change. It sounds strange, but I can almost feel a transformation happening within myself...

#315 August 31, 2011,  Ebony pencil