So I was given the opportunity to run some workshops for LEFTCOAST our local arts organisation and I decided it was as good a time as any to start the business back up again. I have been thinking about starting up again anyway but this was the major kick I needed to get going.
So this isn’t going to be an in-depth blog entry, as I spent the time I should have been doing that on sitting down and planning. You see things might be changing at the pottery soon and there will be a proper announcement when it happens. But cutting the story to a non existent tale I need to start taking the pottery seriously and actually try to build an audience.
My priorities are taking some better photographs and need a better setup than I currently use. Actually trying to actively share my posts/YouTube videos further than my own social media.I means leaving my comfort zone and stretching myself, I have some real targets I know I have to at least try. My idea is to market as much as I can for free, not sure if I was targeting with actual money to actually make some real connections.
My goal is to get into the studio on a Friday and make the most of it, probably send an hour filming and two making. Time is so precious and there isn’t enough of it on a day to day basis to get everything. And when I’m at work, actually try and get to the beach to sketch and collect seashells for the experimental firings.
With my drawing I really want to continue to push forward, I need to be more focused in some areas, I have reminders on my wall of various images that I aspire to. To be honest there is a massive leaning in my goals towards boats still and that’s because I am not close to achieving goals I made last year.
Seeing some of my short to medium term goals written out in front of me seems daunting and it would be easier to try and cull goals but I tried that before and I just ended up feeling like I had wasted several years. I think though I need to develop some projects that ensure I actually focus down on the important goals, not quite sure yet, I’d like to do a finished illustration a week but that still feels too adventurous and unattainable at the moment.
I can recommend mind mapping it helps me build ideas quickly, the one on this post was made using Coggle which has a free option, which has some limits but for free software is better than some of the paid for software that I used as a student teacher.
This is a partial follow up to 9 ways to use a sketchbook
My daily work at the moment takes many many forms, I draw, I paint and I write poetry.
My wife calls me a workaholic, which is probably true but it helps keep me focused. Since May 2016 I have made an extra effort to make progress on my drawing and painting skills, so far that makes 469 continuous days. I started because I knew I either had to start working full-time at pottery and needed a hobby or I was going to get a job and wouldn’t have as much time to make pottery, which of course the latter came true.
I always wanted to be a painter but when I got to art school I found it was a lot harder than I thought. As a teenager I wanted to design Vehicles, Vessels and Environments for the new Star Wars Films (this was before they made episodes 1-3 never-mind 7 onwards) and I used to draw the most terrible spaceships. I had so many books around the artwork of the older star wars films and used to spend hours studying them.
I wasn’t good at drawing and my careers advisor at school directed me towards science which I was good at but didn’t have much interest in. In my 20s after dropping out of a chemistry degree I came back to art school and discovered how hard making good drawings and paintings was. Discovering ceramics game me focus but I was still very much inspired by bold energetic gauche paintings by concept artists in the film industry and thats why I made big bold brush marks.
Back to present day I’m in my 30s I guess I just want to be better at that sort of thing, I will probably never work on a Hollywood film but I just want to be able to draw better to go on my pottery at least.
Let’s look at some of the ways I currently work:
Daily Sketchbook Pages
My daily sketchbook pages currently runs at a double A4 page spread, made up of still life photographs and refining drawings from other sketchbooks, the boat on the right I have drawn over 400 times (and can be seen on some pots I made in 2016). Drawing the same thing over and over even if it is from a similar angle is good practice for developing muscle memory if I ever decide to carve it onto pottery again it will be a lot easier to replicate
Daily Painting Watercolour and Acrylic
I make both an acrylic painting and a watercolour painting, when I started in May 2016 I thought I would eliminate one of them after a month or two but 469 days later and I still flip flop between which one I shouldn’t do. As I can’t be certain I have carried on doing both.
I have previously done an acrylic painting a day in 2011 when we had a shop and I wanted something to put on the walls, so started painting and made quick intial progress but never managed to push beyond that initial amount. I never felt like I made such huge leaps this time around.
100 Drawing Challenge
So the 100 challenge started because I felt like I wasn’t drawing enough so I grabbed some computer paper and started scribbling away in biro, and then brush pens and any sort of pens. After 100 days I filled a folder full of drawings and couldn’t fit anymore, so then I looked around at the various art supplies I have but don’t use often, so will do 100 days of each. This time it is pencil crayons, I have conte crayons and gauche for another 100 days, there is a lot of things I can play with yet. As I have a still life set up every day it tends to be that though for ease of finding subject matter.
Sketchbook a Month
This is a lot more recent, and is only my second month of doing this one. I saw this youtube video in June:
and thought nah I can’t fill one in a month… July first started and it was the weekend and I gave up thinking about it and started a 96 page A5 sketchbook looking just at drawing buildings, using streetview to drive around my local streets and draw the houses and shops (I did draw further afield too). I managed to finish it in the month somehow drawing a lot of pages on the last few days.
I’m on my second sketchbook and I will probably finish in time at the end of August and then as I am back at work for September to December I will probably do a smaller sketchbook (probably only 32 pages unless I make my own custom size between now and the start)
Out and About Sketchbook
I have an A6 sketchbook in my coat or bag depending on how warm it is outside and try and sketch when I get a chance. It depends on how settled my boys are when we are out, if they are settled usually I can do several pages in quick succession, generally these are fast and marks and are usually scribbles I still have to keep one eye on them in case they wander.
I have learnt a lot about drawing and painting and my preferred way to work over the last 469 days, I just wish I hard started this properly in my 20s, but hindsight it always 20/20. I keep thinking I need to focus on my forms and then get my wobbly lines on top of that.
I always question over size, should I be working bigger, more complicated, do I need to go buy more props to draw and paint something more serious? Or should I be studying more towards the technical drawing and bending perspectives and architectural looking at spaceships. Or do I need to start learning how to draw and paint people, really stretch myself before fruit, sweets and jars of food.
I also want to share what I am doing a bit more, as a reader would you be interested in looking at a post of the best piece I think I have made, perhaps on a Friday?
So I was going through some pots in storage a few weeks ago and pulled out this lidded jar. It really caught my eye and I can’t stop looking at it, it is one of the last things I made before my youngest child was born. I have a feeling something similar to this will be on the cards again. They give a good variety of surfaces to carve, decorate and play with and I would like to get them into a saggar too, perhaps with a bit less decoration and let the saggar do all the work.