Friday, February 26, 2021

52 Fridays - Ibo Mmaji Mask


Happy Friday once again and the last one of February. This week's drawing is a "Mmaji (or maji or ma ubi) mask from Ibo, Nigeria I found in a book called, "Masks of Black Africa", that is in my personal library. Sometimes I prefer to draw from a book and take a break from the screens that dominate my life now (computer, phone and TV). I chose this mask because it is so weird and wonderful and just makes me smile. It is abstract and goofy and kind of cyberpunkish. I used a basic black Bic ballpoint ink pen.

I noticed that since I've begun this project that I am doodling more. I crave drawing. I'm compulsively making marks everyday now. It's my natural state. Go with the flow...

I hope you are safe, healthy and can go with your own flow.


Friday, February 19, 2021

52 Fridays - Kono Mask

Another Friday. Is time moving as fast for you as it is me? These winter, lockdown days are blurring together for me, but at least I feel we are moving in a better direction now. The COVID-19 numbers are going down, the vaccine is being distributed and the general madness has become background noise. But enough of all that, you are here for the art, all three of you, and thank you for dropping by. 

This week's drawing is another inspired from the fantastic IG feed by feereafricanart. From the description, this is a "Kono Mask" -  ex. Mauricio Lasansky, ex. Cooper Evans (perhaps these are the owners?). There are so many things I love about this mask; the big, round eye holes, the beard, bullet shaped head and contrast of textures. I may take another run at this one as I am dissatisfied with my rendering of the beard and missed capturing the full shape of the head, mine looks more like a bullet. Even so, I am content with my version. The beautiful color of the original is also compelling me to get out the prismacolor pencils. Stay tuned!

Stay safe and I challenge you to get creative! 



Friday, February 12, 2021

52 Fridays - Bassa Beauty

Happy Friday and week number seven of the "52 Fridays Drawing Project". Only forty-five weeks to go...

This week is an African woodcarving from the Bassa people (of Liberia) from an image I found on IG posted by "feereafricanart". The sweet, soft feminine quality of the face is what compelled me to draw this. Unfortunately, I completely missed capturing that quality, as my image is decidedly more masculine. I read somewhere that all art is self-portraiture and I think this sketch proves that theory. Even so, I still like the drawing that I made as it has it's own life. Perhaps that beautiful woman gave birth to a beautiful son? I like the shape of this face, full at the crown and narrow at the chin. Reminds me of a seed. Plant this, nurture it and grow yourself a beautiful friend. 

See you next week.


Saturday, February 06, 2021

52 Fridays - It's Friday Somewhere...

All good intentions and all of that... yeah, so week six and I have already missed posting on a Friday, but it's got to be Friday somewhere right? Better to carry-on and get back on track. The harsh critic, doubter part of my brain whispered, "No one's looking at this, so why bother?" and "The world is awash in unasked for content that no one has time to look at. Why add to the noise?". Why indeed? Because I enjoy making these drawings. It just feels good to make art, make anything and be active and not passive. 

This week's subject is a terra cotta figurine from Mali that I found on IG posted by "la_chefferie_paris". There is a vulnerability to this figure, something in the awkward, sitting pose, missing arms and directness of the gaze. I may draw this again as I would like to spend more time exploring the subtle textures and shadow interplay.

See you again next Friday-is...


Friday, January 29, 2021

52 Fridays - Bad Drawing? All Good

Happy Friday and week five of this weekly drawing project. This week's subject is a weird, tiny building that I saw and photographed in Hakkaido, Japan. There is an abundance of weird, tiny buildings all over Japan, and I have amassed quite a collection, so this won't be the last weird, tiny Japanese building that I will draw. 

Is this a bad drawing? It's not great, but I enjoyed doing it and like some things about it, but it's not great. This drawing was actually my second attempt, my first effort was the next drawing to the lower left;  a quick ballpoint pen sketch that followed the original image more closely. Notice that I removed the fence in the second attempt to simplify the composition. This tiny building with the ridiculously large vent reminds me of a robot head and I decided to play with that vision, so did a few more quick sketches. I also did multiple drawings of this subject because I wasn't satisfied with any of these drawings. I felt like they were "bad" because I didn't capture the soul and character of the building as I remember it and what I see in the photo. Even so, I am satisfied with myself for pushing through and continuing to play with this subject, that was fun, so it is all good. The moral of the story is, keep pushing.

Now go do your own bad drawing!


Friday, January 22, 2021

52 Fridays - Totonac Mexican Skull

This week's Friday drawing is from an image from Instagram posted by "smithsiannmai" of a "Totonac pottery mold used to make sugar or paper maché skulls for Day of the Dead, ca 1940. Veracruz, Mexico". I drew this on December 12th. I love skulls and this one has a weird, simple quality and shape that made it fun to draw.

See you next week.



Friday, January 15, 2021

52 Fridays - Is It Magic? Or Is It Crap?

Happy Friday! Here is my third drawing of this “52 Fridays” drawing project. It is of a wooden figure of the Chimu African tribe from 1000-1470 AD. I worked from a photo found in a book called "Art of Oceania, Africa, and the Americas from The Museum of Primitive Art" that I found on The Metropolitan Museum of Art web site. They have made available over five hundred art books for free, as PDF files. It is a treasure trove for any art lover, so if you are looking to be inspired, pay them a visit and download a few (dozen) books. You will feel better, I promise you.

I choose this figure because I liked his shape and for the strong wood grain texture. There is also an "x-factor" there, something that I connected with that I can't articulate and don't want to spoil by thinking too much about it. 

I roughed out the basic shape in pencil and did the final drawing with a cheap, black Bic ballpoint pen. I like to draw, but always have to fight through the resistance of my critic and doubting mind to get to the fun part. That shitty voice is always telling me that whatever marks I am making are crap, that it's wrong, why am I bothering, and, of course, "you are a fraud". I've learned to fight through this, nodding my head and mentally agreeing in a patronizing way, "Yes, yes, you are right", but I continue on anyways. I always give myself an out that I don't have to show anyone if it really is that bad. I find drawing to be meditative and always, at some point, fall into a shallow trance and wake up when the the sketch is close to being done. That's when I often find that the marks I had so recently had no confidence in, now have magically become something. Mere marks now  have become wood or metal or bone and the the thing looks back at me. If I can get a little bit of my soul in there, then I have won. That is always a feeling worth the effort.


Friday, January 08, 2021

52 Fridays - Drawing #2 - The Egyptian Museum

Drawing of small Egyptian Figure
    Happy Friday! So, I missed posting on here last Friday, but I did post this on Instagram on the 8th, so I am covered. That means I will do a double posting on here today!
   Last  week I drew from a photo I took at The Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt in the #BeforeTimes when I was literally traveling around the world. The Egyptian Museum is a sprawling, causally maintained facility, full of what seems to be millions of artifacts in dusty display cases with cracked glass and yellowing typewritten description tags. I loved it. I skipped the lines for King Tut to hang out with the more neglected displays such as these exquisite figurines. Unfortunately, I don’t have any historical details about this about this piece, but looks to be carved from Malachite and it was 3-4 cms. high.

    I hope wherever you are at and whatever your situation you can find something that brings you joy.


Friday, January 01, 2021

52 Fridays - A Drawing Project

Greetings and Happy New Year! Here's wishing that 2021 is a better year than 2020, which is a pretty low bar to cross. I'm not one for setting "New Year's Resolutions" (sidebar shout out to my pal Neil's podcast where he recently ruminated on this very topic), but I do love to set goals for the year. S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based) goals, stuff like, log 1,200 miles walking/running/hiking. I hit 1,972 miles last year. This year I decided to set an art-based goal that will motivate me to draw more often. Inspired by my prolific friend (same guy with the mentioned podcast) Neil Bruce's "52 Fridays" music video project from last year, that I contributed some video clips to, I have decided to do an art version of that project and will post a drawing every Friday through 2021. I will primarily be posting new drawings, but there might also be the occasional blast-from-the-past. 

This week's drawing was done today and was taken from an image I found on Instagram posted by "@johngrahamtribalart". It's an interesting woodcarving of a simple, primitive style face from the Lobi tribe according to the info from the original post. I used a cheap Bic ball-point pen and drew it in a little travel sketchbook that doesn't lie flat, so I get to be a hand model. 

Only fifty-one to go! 

See you next week,