This is a recent issue of my 100 Doodles project. An art newsletter published maybe twice a week with small paintings and writing. In this issue I write about longing to know what happens when I'm not looking.
I made time for a little painting this weekend. Real painting with real paint. I am trying to turn off the tiny project manager who lives in my brain and just do work instead of thinking in terms of a larger project or an exhibit. Because I frankly just need more practice.
I also have guilt over the painting supplies I bought which have been lying dormant since I fell in love with digital painting.
It’s so much easier to turn real paint into mud. There is so much more set up and clean up with real material. However, I have an artifact from this weekend - a tiny little painting. It’s not my best or my favorite, but if I put it into a frame and gave it to someone it would make them happy. A digital work flickers by on Instagram in a second and doesn’t have an opportunity to make much of an impact beyond a quick double-tap-and-heart.
It’s an interesting set of trade-offs - digital media has nearly infinite possibilities with no ongoing cost or material, but no impact in the world. Physical media generates garbage and is dreadfully slow and costly.
I want to commit to burning up the rest of my painting supplies and call it all practice. The supplies are already doomed simply because I’ve purchased them. So I may as well get some value out of them. If I burn through them all and I still want more - that’s probably an OK sign.
I am finding that I make the same mistakes when I draw people. I elongate the face, especially the space between the nose and chin, and I enlarge the eyes.
I noticed that part of that problem is how I sketch in these features. I’m sort of cartoonishly outlining the shape of the eyes and then filling them in. The outlines are large (because I sketch with a broad, flat, tool usually), and so the final form becomes larger and then they’re all wrong. And huge.
Secondly, I struggle to find a balance between mapping, planning, and sculpting a drawing and just diving in and piling on value, color, and detail. I need to slow down and measure and see. Speed will come with practice.
I listen to the Good Point podcast with Rafael Rozendaal and Jeremy Bailey. I am an unapologetic fan of Rafael Rozendaal so I took it on the chin a bit when they sort of mocked iPad as an art tool. Well not really. They were discussing how painting and drawing become symbols of creative work and how products like the Microsoft Surface and the Apple Pencil are marketed to hypothetical artists in, perhaps, a cynical way to push technology they’ve developed into a market.
I love drawing on an iPad so I took some offense to this…but I see their point. But I think they have the cause and effect backwards. I don’t believe that Apple would have developed their Pencil if there wasn’t demand, or a pre-existing addressable market. Ditto for Microsoft. I also think they failed to ask the question “why is drawing emblematic of creativity?” I think the answer to that question is the answer to why every new technology platform has a painting tool.
Tiny little blogs
It is a distraction from posting on my “proper” blog but it’s also so frictionless and easy that it’s more fun and almost automatic. I also find that it works well as a front-end to Twitter. I can post things that appear on Twitter, without having to ever look at Twitter. This is a plus.
I like the idea a lot and I like that the platform integrates with many other blogging systems (but not Squarespace, unfortunately). I also can get behind the idea of individuals taking back the open web from the clowns in Silicon Valley. I’m hoping that writing there will fertilize more writing here.
“Do you have a pool?” is a web painting of an infinite Motel 6. I’ve painted this Motel 6 before. When I say “this Motel 6” I really mean every Motel 6 because they’re all alike. They might even all be literally the same Motel 6.
When I was making this piece I thought about that feeling at arriving at this American classic and walking by all the doors in the hot sun until I arrived at my door. There’s something comforting and democratic about how they’re all the same, but also unnerving. Each door is anonymous. Each door is closed against the sun. What’s going on in there? Anything? Is anyone even alive here?
I created the imagery in Procreate with an Apple Pencil on an iPad Pro. I exported the painting as a layered image file and broke it up into repeating sections. The three-dimensional effect of the parking lot is accomplished with CSS 3D transformations. The parallax effect of the railing is a simple layer animated slightly faster than the layer behind it. One of the accidental effects I love is that on smaller windows, the scene passes by more slowly. It’s fun to scrunch up the browser window so the effect of the infinite is exaggerated by scale.
A still life of lime and avocado on a cutting board, waiting for lunch. Painted with Procreate.