Inspiration exists, but it has to find you at work. – Pablo Picasso
A few years ago, I began a project called Draw Every Day For A Year (DEDFAY).
Something about having to turn in a drawing every day, however modest, freed something in me, and made me more adventurous with materials and subjects. Sure, there were some bad drawings (“Bad drawing! Stop that! Haven’t I told you a million times…?” etc) but that year also generated many of my favourites.
I posted my DEDFAY drawings daily to Facebook, which acted as an accountability machine. And of course the comments and cheers of friends were hugely encouraging.
I produced at least one drawing on 365 consecutive days with a persistence that still astonishes me, and the result for me is an irreplaceable visual archive of what I experienced, where I travelled and my encounters over that year.
But DEDFAY ended four years ago. I got to thinking about all the drawings I would have done in those intervening years, had I only kept it up. What sights might that gallery have recorded, that are forever lost? This made me think of Michelangelo’s statues trapped inside stone, and led to the imperative to “free the drawings!’
Now, I’m not comparing myself with Michelangelo… But it’s a helpful metaphor that summons the blood. All artists know the stiffening of the limbs, the fear and tension that creep in when you draw only sporadically and with grim purpose. The principles of discipline and playfulness involved in producing a daily drawing whatever my mood, whatever the quality, will hopefully keep me limber, like graphic Pilates.
So, I’m going to give it another go, but this time with no particular end point in sight other than the get-out clause that if I wish, I can take a breather after a significant milestone eg 50, 100 drawings.
HM, 18 January, 2017