Task #89 – Draw or paint 25 figures
Task #90 – Draw or paint 25 faces
Task #91 – Draw or paint 25 hands
Task #92 – Draw or paint 25 still life scenes
Task #93 – Draw or paint 25 trees
Let me begin by saying that yes, this is one of those occasional image-heavy posts. Now would probably be a good time for a cup of tea.
Back when I wrote my list of 101 Things in 1001 Days almost 3 years ago I was taking weekly classes at the Melbourne Studio of Art… and I was rapidly running out of cash! Those classes were excellent for a complete beginner like me, and I knew that in order to keep getting better without a teacher I would need to draw constantly. I set myself a pretty conservative goal to draw 25 figures, faces, hands, still life scenes and trees and resolved to chip away at it gradually.
Only that’s not what happened. At least 60 of the drawings on the wall above were created in the past 3 weeks under a cloud of fear and sleep deprivation.
(I know, I know. Believe me.)
The good news is it worked. Even in the past 3 weeks I’ve seen my drawing improve, and the sense of urgency created by my deadline made me push through some of the mental blocks that I otherwise would have caved into. Each evening as I sat at my dining table I resolved to pump out a certain number of drawings before bed, and that raw determination helped me to set an excellent pace.
There are very few finished pieces in the picture above – maybe only ten or so out of the whole bunch. This in itself is a bit of a win for me because I’m far too likely to dwell in the details if left to my own devices. Pure necessity drove me to draw, and then throw it to the side and draw again. It felt good to have permission to move on, and to see the value and lessons contained in the ‘duds’. And there were plenty of those!
I’ve spent an awful lot of time inside my own head in the past three weeks, thanks to this challenge, and I can’t adequately explain how this time ‘alone’ has changed things for me. With a pencil in my hand I was constantly making decisions and solving problems on the paper in front of me, and before long I noticed my thought patterns shifting when I was away from my desk too. Perhaps this is why people love meditation so much, the act of silencing the white noise and thinking more deliberately, more consciously. That’s what I felt happening to me as I threw myself into these drawings. Clarity, and lots of it.
It might sound cheesy, but I really did resolve a bunch of my own internal worries thanks to all these trees and boobs and bottles.
You guys, drawing doesn’t come naturally to me – not at all. I don’t have a great deal of natural talent, I wasn’t born with an ‘eye’ for scale and perspective, and I will never have to stop working hard to create a beautiful drawing or painting. I have accepted it, and even embrace it because I understand the personal value in sitting down and quietly solving a hundred little problems. If the end result is good that’s fantastic, and if it’s not? Well, there’s almost certainly a lesson in it for the next drawing. Every little sketch strengthens a muscle.
I’ve put my best drawings below, and you can click the thumbnails to see a larger version. Give yourself a round of applause if you make it to the end!