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Day Five: #OneWeek100People, 2021 – Living up to the Challenge

March 12, 2021

It’s Day Five of #OneWeek100People, and, while many of you have hit your 100, I have been swanning about making pretty watercolors.

I wanted to be making 20 paintings a day, to be on track to 100 in five days. In fact, I only hit 20 on day one, then it was 10 a day for two days, then three on my ‘worst’ day!

That’s not not really living up to the challenge is it?

If the goal is learning as much as possible, in a reasonable amount of time – well – you really need to go back to the basics.

Does that really matter? This magic number? Shouldn’t I be trying to make the BEST picture I can every day? What is the point of twenty ‘lesser’ sketches instead of one ‘finished’ drawing?

It comes down to what do you want to be learning I suppose.

I feel like there are things I am training, by doing a lot of work, in a very short time, that I can’t learn any other way.

The hand-eye coordination that is developed by direct pen and ink – this is the same thing as the all-in-one-go approach which we call direct watercolor painting, and those skills in turn absolutely apply to the work I’m doing in oils. I couldn’t create the paintings I’m making today, without ten years of these underlying skills.

So – in the spirit of ‘How to get to 100’ – Here’s a short video demonstration of a pen and ink drawing.

I hope you’ll see what I mean. How a direct ink drawing can be a simplified model for alla prima painting.

It’s all about seeing the edges of shapes, and eye-balling proportions, and the placements of shadows. (Which create the illusion of volume).

Whether you’re drawing a line around a shape, or blocking-in with a broad nib (or marker), or making a watercolor wash – the edge you are observing is the same contour.

Learning to draw these shapes, or learning to fill them with color – these are two sides of the same coin.

So don’t worry if you’re not doing 100 full-color paintings for your marathon!

You’re probably learning more, if you’re doing sketches in ballpoint, fountain pen or markers – because you’re getting more experience with seeing, in less time.

So , thanks one last time to everyone who participated in this year’s #OneWeek100People!

And – maybe I’ll see some of you back for our next big event – #30x30DirectWatercolor – in which we work together to create thirty paintings in thirty days, during the month of June.

Take care, and we’ll see you over in the Facebook group. I’ll be around all day, congratulating people as they cross the finish line!


8 Comments leave one →
  1. cisca permalink
    March 12, 2021 2:42 PM

    Well done and thank you for the initiative! I´m behind, had a busy day today and had to deliver 2 portraits which were commissioned so those had preference… Guess I´ll be stretching the week as much as necessary, Saturday definitely, maybe even Sunday… It´s being a very educational and inspiring challenge! Thanks for that! cisca

  2. March 12, 2021 3:28 PM

    Lol – Wrong emoji! Dang phone!

  3. March 12, 2021 7:25 PM

    Marc, what type of paper do you use when using ink? And you’ve switched to only dip nibs? That’s living dangerous when sketching on the field, wouldn’t you say? Any advice on set up?

    • March 13, 2021 12:39 PM

      This particular paper is a Fabriano pad called “Mix Media” – it’s a 160gsm, pretty basic white-bread paper really, nothing special. Re: the risk of spills – I carry my ink in 30ml bottles that I can hold in my off hand – haven’t ever had a spill. (Knock wood!)

      see pics :

  4. Jean A Paterson permalink
    March 13, 2021 2:10 PM

    I am entranced by your gesture drawings, and especially ones involving horses, which to me are so difficult to draw. The sketched heads of two carriage horses is a very appealing work. Bravo! And thanks!

  5. pier permalink
    March 25, 2021 6:50 AM

    Those are some high level sketches, noticed even more liberty in your newer posts. I’m interested in how many materials you’re burning through on a monthly basis to pull out so much work. I’m using this course now, (it costs me a a few quid) to improve my drawings ( is actually working somehow ), but wanted to expand into more watercolor and ink. Wondering how much would that cost me.

    • March 25, 2021 10:29 AM

      Hey Pier – thanks for the good words! Re: expense – I guess I just ignore the cost these days. I’m not in the habit of the best paper or the best pens (Fabriano makes some excellent paper for less than the top brands) – (dipping pens are so cheap compared to disposable or to fountain pens it’s silly!). With watercolor – maybe start with only 6-9 colors? And look at Shin Han instead of Winsor for instance. So you can be set up to draw for a month, at less than the cost of a big night out. At the end of the day the art habit is far cheaper than drinking or smoking, significantly less than a vacation! Or god forbid skiing. My wife does metalsmithing if you want to talk about an expensive hobby! Lol. Anyway, In the worst case a person could draw with home made ink on paper swiped from the recycled bins. Or the other way around – $1000 now on a laptop + Wacom will keep you drawing for 5-10 years.That’s as low as $8 a month!

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