Monday, February 28, 2011

Day 130

This drawing can be read in a couple ways.

First of all, I think an obvious explanation is that tonight's self-portrait is a representation of the attempt to protect a person's anonymity by placing a simple black bar across their eyes. I've always found this practice to be rather laughable, because there are still so many distinguishing features that are clearly visible!

Secondly, I've made many drawings and paintings that examine the theme of blindness.  I find it interesting that there are many kinds of "blindness", from the literal inability to see to various forms of not being able to "see" - whether that's by choice or not.  While this drawing isn't really about blocking or eliminating my vision, I suppose it could have something to do with a person seeing only what they want to see about a person or situation.  Perhaps it could be interpreted as my attempts at blinding the viewer...

#130 February 27, 2011,  Pen, ink
Sounds: Mumford & Sons, mix CD

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Day 129

This is a theme that I've wanted to illustrate for quite awhile now, but I didn't know exactly where it was going until tonight. Ironically, after completing this drawing, I had the idea for at least two other versions of the same concept.

The basic premise: this is my visual impression of the feeling a person gets in their stomach when they hear bad news or get an instant jolt of fear. Or, it could depict what it feels like to experience the immediate shock of emotional pain.

In other words, a person can sometimes feel hollow inside, directly opposite of the good feelings of "butterflies" darting about in a person's stomach. An angry and agitated crow roosting inside would certainly feel very bad in comparison!

#129 February 26, 2011,  Pen
Sounds: Utopia, Oops Wrong Planet

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Day 128

I absolutely love it when this happens.

There are times when I like one of my artworks just a little, and there are times when I don't like it at all. And then there are times like tonight that I am crazy about it! There are a some of my paintings that I can look at say "Wow, I MADE that!" because I simply couln't believe that I had created it. And there are some of individual artworks in this project that I feel that way about.

When I sat down to draw tonight, I was extremely lacking in motivation. Essentially, I was tired, I had an almost uncomfortably full belly from from eating too much of a large delicious dinner (thanks Shana!), and I just didn't want to make any kind of art. But I sat down at the table with my lady, I looked into the mirror across from me, and I began sketching. And it didn't take long until I started to LOVE the drawing I was making. When I started to brush the ink onto the left eye, I immediately knew it was going to be a good drawing that I would be very happy with.

For the record, the imagery originated with me slightly lowering my head and seeing more of the hair on top of my head. I liked the idea of the extremely cartoonish spiked hair, so I ran with it...

#128 February 25, 2011,  Ink
Sounds:  Chris Knight, Enough Rope

Friday, February 25, 2011

Day 127

Sometimes I like drawing with pencil, and sometimes I don't. I can't decide what my feeling is tonight. While the drawing is a decent likeness of me, I'm not sure how much I like it. Perhaps it's because this is the first self-portrait with my new glasses, and perhaps it's because of the technique. One interesting thing to me is that pencil is supposed to be the "king of drawing", the most commonly used tool for mark-making. But as I've continued through this process, I've found myself liking pencil drawing less and less.

Some days, like today, I get a little frustrated at the finished product. But it doesn't take long for me to remember that at this point I'm barely one-third of the way completed, and there are a lot of (hopefully) amazing artworks left to go...

#127 February 24, 2011,  Pencil
Sounds:  U2, No Line On The Horizon

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 126

Tonight I had an interest in exploring the heavy outline that I love adding to my self-portraits.  I decided to create an even bolder appearance than usual with a super thick line that could actually be read as a frame of some sort.  I like the effect, and might enjoy adding some color to another one down the line a ways.

Incidentally, once the drawing began to take shape, this cropped head reminded me of someone wearing a hoodie sweatshirt with the drawstrings pulled tight!!

#126 February 23, 2011,  Ink and pen on paper

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Day 125

As I was sitting through a mindless/endless/needless work meeting today, the word "wiki" was mentioned. My colleague who was sitting next to me (a man roughly my age) remarked how we used to be the people who made fun of those who didn't know how to program their VCRs. With today's technology, WE are now those people, because neither of us really even knew what a wiki actually is!  At any rate, one thing led to another and I made a joke that I'm sure has been made countless times: what does a wiki look like?  I wonder if a wiki is anything like a Hawaiian tiki mask!  I had a pen in hand and a sheet of paper in front of me and the sketching commenced...

This is also the first time that I am showing my daily self portrait in two states.  Once again, I'm using a brown paper bag as my substrate, but this time I used ink and a brush to create the image.  I was fairly pleased with the result but I wasn't sure if it was actually finished.  So...I went ahead and scanned it.

#125 February 22, 2011,  Ink on brown paper bag (1st state)
Sounds: American Graffiti, 41 Original Hits From The Soundtrack Of American Graffiti

It was at this point that I decided the drawing was not finished.  I felt like there wasn't a strong contrast or enough "pop" to the image, so I went back in with white acrylic paint.  There's no doubt that it became a totally different and much better drawing.  NOW I'm pleased with it...

#125 February 22, 2011,  Ink and acrylic on brown paper bag (final state)
Sounds: American Graffiti, 41 Original Hits From The Soundtrack Of American Graffiti

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 124

There are times such as tonight that this project would have been much better suited to remain private and personal. I consider it an artistic sin for an artist to feel they need to edit both their words and their imagery in order to maintain some degree of isolation for their true thoughts and feelings.

In other words, I have nothing more to say tonight...

#124 February 21, 2011,  Pen on brown paper bag

Monday, February 21, 2011

Day 123

This drawing tells the story of a person who wishes for the respect and admiration of another, and has come to the unfortunate realization that all of their efforts are not as appreciated as they had thought.  Certainly these things should be earned, but they should also not be irrationally withheld.

I've always found it interesting when certain discoveries are made.  Based on the previous 122 portraits in this project, a couple things are obvious.  First of all, I have made a lot of drawings in pen that feature a very prominent heavy outline.  Secondly, I have made several drawings, albeit in charcoal, on brown paper bag.  Last night I was looking at the website of one of my former students, Derek Rippe, and was impressed by his use of that similar style, although his work is made in a much more minimal manner than I employ.  I'll admit that the style of this drawing was inspired by his artwork.  Be sure to check out his fabulous art!

#123 February 20, 2011,  Pen on brown paper bag
Sounds:  Lucinda Williams, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Day 122

Any time I go to the liquor store, I always ask for my purchase to be bagged because I know I'll get some new drawing paper!

So, I've had a couple days of semi-realistic self-portraits.  I think I want to break that trend when I work on my next one...

#122 February 19, 2011,  Charcoal on brown paper bag

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Day 121

I had a lot of fun with today's self-portrait drawing.  My good buddy Robert Wimer hung around and created a fabulous time-lapse video of the drawing process, which I'm pleased to share here.

It was a bit of a surreal experience to be filmed while making art.  I've seen many different videos of an artist sketching or drawing, so it's very exciting to now have my own!

I was also very happy to carve out a longer block of time for art-making today.  With the demands of everyday life, sometimes it's very difficult to squeeze in enough time to make a nice quality artwork.  However, one of my goals for this project is certainly being met: I AM making an artwork each and every day, regardless of how much (or little) time is actually invested.  I will say, however, that it was a blast spending a little over an hour making this drawing!

#121 February 18, 2011,  Conte
Sounds: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, The Live Anthology: Ultimate Collector's Edition Boxed Set (5 CDs + 1 Blu-ray + 2 DVDs + 1 LP)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Day 120

Sometimes in a case like this, the image is so blatant, so "out there", so extreme, that I grant myself persmission to give an explanation regarding its meaning.

I have been literally exhausted for the past several days - lack of sleep will do that to you! At any rate, my face in this drawing clearly displays the signs of sleep deprivation. A dragonfly is often used to symbolize a rebirth or a new start, which is personally relevant in many ways. Yes, I pictured myself wearing only underwear briefs, as a means of expressing feelings of extreme exposure or vulnerability due to putting myself on display (as I have often felt during this project and - regrettably - at other times!). Attempting to remain balanced while standing on top of the large ball is very difficult, as is balancing a plethora of responsibilities in each of our lives. And finally, the design on the ball signifies that often times, a person becomes a target to those who disapprove, or are jealous, or simply mean-spirited people!

As an aside, I am very pleased with this self-portrait, but it still didn't quite capture what I was going for. This idea will be revisted very soon....

#120 February 17, 2011,  Pen
Sounds:  Dwight Yoakam,  Dwight Sings Buck (Dig)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Day 119

This is my least favorite self-portrait in this series, and it has nothing to do with the image itself.

According to the old saying, "If you've got nothing nice to say..."

#119 February 16, 2011,  Ebony pencil

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Day 118

I've come to the realization that I need to change the way I do certain things. More and more often the day gets away from me and as the calendar flips from one day to the next, I'm still trying to complete all the tasks I need to finish before I can allow myself to sleep.

Sometimes between work and appointments and meetings and kids' ballgames and checking homework . . . it occasionally seems like my self-portrait gets pushed to the bottom of the list. I love this project and I'm very proud of what I've accomplished up to this point, but every now and then it regrettably falls to the bottom of priority. And quite frankly, with everything else I had going on today, I'm not sure I would have it any other way because some things were simply more important.

But the fact remains: this project will continue to be one of the unchangeable daily parts of my life until the project ends in October, and I will continue to make a self-portrait each and every day until that point. Sometimes I will be able to devote a lot of time to the artwork, and sometimes - such as tonight - I will only be able to give it a few minutes. But I really do like this image (as quickly as it was made) and I feel that gives a pretty accurate portrayal of how I feel at this moment.

We've all felt this way at different times in our lives.  It's not a great feeling.  But I truly believe that days like this are the ones that build our character and forge us into the people that we are meant to be - both the good and the bad.

#118 February 15, 2011,  Pencil
Sounds: Son Volt, Trace

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Day 117

This drawing started out in an interesting place. When I sat down to make tonight's self-portrait, it turned out that I had absolutely no inspiration so I decided to look through a new art magazine until the mood struck.

I stumbled upon a photograph of a dead bird. The thing that really struck me was that someone had put a cigarette in the bird's mouth and there was a hand which extended into the frame placing a lighter toward the bird's mouth.

And since I like birds so much . . .

#117 February 14, 2011,  Ink & pen
Sounds: Avett Brothers, Country Was

Monday, February 14, 2011

Day 116

As always, I suppose there could be many meanings to this self-portrait. However, since it has already been grossly misinterpreted before I even had a chance to share it publicly, allow me to break my own rule and give an explanation.

I like to consider myself a work in progress, but if I could only change one thing about my personality, I believe I would choose to eliminate my snoring problem. It's no secret that this is an issue for many people, and it wreaks all kinds of havoc for the person who is snoring and anyone who has the misfortune to sleeping in their proximity .

I once heard a person snoring so vigorously and sleeping so restlessly that it almost seemed like they had thick chains wrapped around their head and they were fighting in their sleep to break free. Ever since that moment, this particular image has been - to me - the visual personification of the sound of snoring. This is the first time that I've actually drawn it and I think that the loose brushstrokes of ink add very nicely to the feeling I was going for.

#116 February 13, 2011,  Ink

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Day 115

Unlike last night's drawing which had a plan from the beginning (although I didn't stick with it), I had absolutely no idea where tonight's self-portrait was going as I sat down to draw. I chose to use charcoal on brown paper bag, which has become a favorite of mine because of the great contrast that can be achieved. Furthermore, I really enjoy the rectangular format that is offered from a bag that fits a wine bottle!

This drawing is meant to be a bit of a peace offering, if only to myself. It seems that most of the drawings or paintings I make that include a blackbirds have a very confrontational feeling to them. I'll readily admit that usually this is my chosen effect - but not always. I like the expression on my face indicating that I'm still a bit wary of the bird's gesture. Perhaps the intentions of the bird are honorable, and perhaps it's merely a trick.

I've mentioned before that birds (especially black ones) are a very important aspect to my art. I think that their sometimes ominous image, in addition to the gift of flight and all of the various cultural symbolisms associated with birds, make them a very useful device for storytelling. In this instance, of course I will not reveal exactly what the bird represents to me. I think that it's much more important for you, the viewer, to determine what the bird means to you, and how it applies to your story.

#115 February 12, 2011,  Charcoal on brown paper bag
Sounds: Cross Canadian Ragweed,  Garage

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Day 114

This one did not ultimately end up where I had planned for it to go. My plan was to create an image that was more minimal, with bolder and harsher lines, and a lot less shading. While I think that this is a nice drawing, I am a little irritated for letting myself fall right back into my comfort zone when I had every intention of experimenting with a different style.

It's a strange trade-off: do a decent drawing, yet feel frustrated because it's not what it was supposed to be. I will defintely revisit my original idea...

#114 February 11, 2011,  Ebony pencil

Friday, February 11, 2011

Day 113

I'm not particularly fond of the candy that comes from these kind of dispensers. In fact, I find it a little disgusting the way it appears to emerge from a slit throat!

It's fun to get reacquainted with an "old friend," in a manner of speaking.  I recently mentioned how much I love working with Prismacolor colored pencils. I've been a fan for years, and it always feels nice to use them after a time away.

I wish I had taken two scans of this self-portrait: one with, and one without the orange background. I initially had the face and "body" finished, at which point I contemplated what my next move would be...or if the drawing was simply completed. I chose to add the additional color to surround what was already finished - and it popped! The orange was a good choice...

#113 February 10, 2011,  Colored pencil
Sounds: Avett Brothers, I and Love and You

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Day 112

I had this particular idea all day yesterday, but when it came time to make the portrait it just didn't work out. I'm actually quite happy about that, because I think the idea works a lot better with an additional day's thoughts added into the mix.

Sometimes I feel like I can talk and talk and talk . . . and talk.  Incessantly.  And yes, I know this has been a source of irritation at times for those around me.  You know it's bad when you're having a "conversation" and the other person's eyes glaze over as they stare into space - just wishing for it to end!

I'm working on it.  I really am.

#112 February 9, 2011,  Ink, pen
Sounds: Shinedown,  The Sound Of Madness

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Day 111

I'm noticing a bit of a trend with my choice of materials, and I think this is a good thing.  For the past three days, I've used a bottle of ink and a brush to make my self-portraits.  Before that was a couple days where I used Ebony pencil.  And anyone that's been following along knows that at times I've spent days on end using a pen.

This pleases me because it signals that I'm doing something right, at least in my eyes.  The simple fact is that if I was unhappy with one day's artwork, chances are good that I would do anything I could to make the next portrait better - including switching the medium that I had been using.  The fact that I have several stretches of using the same material tells me that these were times where I personally considered the artworks to be of quality.

Of course I'll continue to explore different mediums as this project progresses.  And I will also continue to revisit some of my old favorites.  I'm still quite excited to see where this goes...

#111 February 8, 2011,  Ink

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Day 110

I had an interesting conversation about this project with someone today. We visited about how an artist puts themselves on display every time they show their art in a public setting. And it occurred to me that this project does the same thing, but in a very amplified way.

For example, when an artist exhibits their work, they generally have a great deal of time to complete the art that will be displayed in the show. They can pick and choose which of their pieces will include, because they will usually have the chance to decide what's good enough to hang and what should be left out.

"The self-portrait project" doesn't afford me this luxury. Since each portrait is made during the waking hours of one day and then posted the following day, I essentially have very little time to revise each artwork. To put it bluntly, it sometimes seems that I barely have enough time just to complete the portrait, let alone having the time for any revisions!

Then again, I've always thrived on deadlines and pressure. During my conversation with this gentleman, it occurred to me that I had actually created this project within my "comfort zone" but I didn't compeltely understand it until today. I have always tended to put things off until the last minute, and all of these self-portraits seem to be no different...

#110 February 7, 2011,  Ink
Sounds: Lenny and Squiggy Present: Lenny and the Squigtones

Monday, February 7, 2011

Day 109

This drawing started in an interesting place. And by "interesting," I mean that the process was pretty drawn out and it took me quite a long time to figure out just what it was going to be!

I've been fairly pleased with the past several self-portraits, but each one was made in the extremely late hours of the night, as one day ended and the next began.  My sole intention for today's artwork was to have it finished much earlier than has become my norm.  However, when I started considering what it would actually look like, I was completely drawing a blank. 

(Are you noticing the artist's puns?  Absolutely accidental!)

The way this drawing ultimately looks is nowhere near the ideas that I started with.  In fact, I might have set a personal record for the number of "versions" that this one went through.  The good thing for me is that even though I chose not to use some of those ideas, they are still fairly good and will be great for future days' portraits!

#109 February 6, 2011,  Ink

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Day 108

One definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over, but expecting a different result each time.

At first glance, this drawing appears to be very self-explanatory, especially when taken in consideration with the previous statement. But there are many possible interpretations to this artwork, and - as always - I certainly encourage a bit of pondering as to what it could mean to each individual.

It should also be noted that I think this self-portrait fits very well into the category of "sketches for jim's future paintings"...

#108 February 5, 2011,  Ebony pencil
Sounds: Patty Griffin, Impossible Dream

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Day 107

I think most people tend to wear "masks" every so often. It's a semi-effective way to cope in times when it's easier to just accept a situation - in those times when a fight is either not worth the effort or would just only be counterproductive.

Other times we wear our masks for the benefit of others, in order to help them get through their own situation, or simply to protect them from something bad that might be lurking just beneath the surface. As a friend of mine says: "Fake it until you make it."

And simply enough, sometimes a mask is just a good way to hide our true feelings when we are trying to protect no one other than ourselves.

I'm going to be very honest: there are many ways to interpret today's self-portrait.  I think that a person would be taking the easy way out and completely missing the point if they just looked at this as nothing more than a picture of someone with a mask on...

#107 February 4, 2011,  Ebony pencil
Sounds:  Gin Blossoms,  Major Lodge Victory

Friday, February 4, 2011

Day 106

Today's self-portrait is a natural outgrowth of the one from yesterday. I had a great time brushing the ink, and while it was not the first time that I had used that particular medium and process, it was the first time that I had used it on a colored surface and added white for highlights.

It occurred to me that the light areas would look even better in acrylic instead of colored pencil, since the paint would actually appear brighter against the ink. I have also always enjoyed seeing these two mediums used together on a darker material. It just so happened that I had an extra piece of cardboard laying around and it worked very well for the desired effect.

#106 February 3, 2011,  Acrylic and ink on cardboard
Sounds: INXS, Kick

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Day 105

I felt a strong urge to get back on track tonight. While I enjoyed yesterday's self-portrait, I've felt a sense of something lacking in the quality of my art from the past couple days.

This drawing came to me in a bit of a "vision", if you will. After a long day of shoveling snow, accomplishing some housework, and doing a marathon task of grocery shopping, I was pretty much drained by the time the evening arrived. Making art was literally the last thing on my mind as I collapsed onto the sofa!

Then something strange happened: I sat up knowing exactly what my self-portrait would look like. And without much deviation, the finished product looks almost exactly as I had pictured it in my mind. This is an amazing process, where it almost feels like my hand is being guided by someone or something else. I don't have a lot of interest in getting spiritual or metaphysical right here and now, but it was a unique feeling that I always welcome when it comes along.

#105 February 2, 2011,  Ink (with brush) and colored pencil on colored paper
Sounds: Yes, 90125

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day 104

So here's the story:

Recently, I've been trying to make time to re-watch one of the newer James Bond movies.  I do tend to think that Daniel Craig makes a pretty great 007, even though his darker, emotional portrayal is far from the witty playboy types of Sean Connery and Roger Moore.  At any rate, I got to thinking about the great villains from the older Bond movies (and how Mike Myers' Dr. Evil really is a complete knock-off of those bad guys).

Well . . . one thing led to another and decided to draw myself in a similar pose as those thoughtful villains.  The main difference is that I wanted to make some sort of slight change.  Changing the clothing style is one obvious choice, but even though I do consider myself a cat person, I figured that changing the animal could be an interesting idea.  My initial thoughts were to use something outlandish, such as an alligator or a minature pony.  But ultimately, I wanted to keep it a little closer to my original inspiration.

So I got to thinking: what would a person like to hold close, that would be soothing, and a gentle and loving companion to offset the inherent meanness of its human conterpart?  (Hey, wait just a minute!!)  This option is nicely derivative of the cat held by those Bond villains, and a rabbit seems that it would be a very nice thing to hold in your arms.

(As I write this, it occurs to me that this is a more complete description than I may have given for any of the previous 103 self-portraits!)

#104 February 1, 2011,  Pen
Sounds: Sweet, Desolation Boulevard

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Day 103

Here's how a stream-of-consciousness drawing happens: because I have worn my hair a little spiked over the past several days, I had the idea to portray myself with nails for my hair. As I was working on the drawing, my daughters started weighing in on what they thought it actually was: pencils, paint brushes, a tub of popcorn (yes, really), and a crown.

The drawing was happening, but it simply wasn't working for me. Honestly, I was feeling a little down about the entire drawing process tonight. So I went to what has become my #2 Stand-by: using charcoal on a brown paper bag that I carried a bottle of wine home in.

Based on the girls' interpretations, I re-visited an idea that that I technically already had, but has never seen reality until tonight: a floating crown directly over my head. I'm not sure I have any thoughts on what this self-portrait means, but I like the idea. I think I'll do another one with this theme again someday...

#103 January 31, 2011,  Charcoal on brown paper bag
Sounds: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Long After Dark