“Painting is just another way of keeping a diary” – Pablo Picasso
At some point, I realized that my new practice of painting every day looked a lot like what I was doing back in the late 1990s. 1998-2000 were amazing years for me. I had a new job working at the Art Gallery of Ontario, where I was constantly spending time in the art galleries looking at really good art. I had just gotten a little studio apartment in Cabbagetown and had returned to school to finish my degree. Under the guidance of Hugh Leroy, I had developed the discipline of drawing every day, usually without any particular direction in mind. The goal was to find my personal drawing “vocabulary” through discipline and consistency in practice.
I ended up carrying those drawings around with me for twenty years. From apartment to apartment, relationship to relationship, even from Toronto to Victoria, I protected and cared for this massive body of work like it was my legacy. The unspoken implication was that I would never draw or paint again and that I’d better cherish and hang on to these little drawings as best I could. I even bought archival boxes for them to make sure they were well preserved.
I went back recently and looked through them all and fell down a rabbit hole. It was wonderful to see what I was really capable of, even 20 years ago. More importantly was the realization that I was in fact capable of much, much more.
As a result, I decided to let go of some of them. The past is the past. I have a new faith that the future will take care of itself IF I take care of the real business of life today. I think that’s the real art of life.
My memory of making these drawings is rather foggy, and they’re not documented well enough to say precisely when each of them were made, but I do know they came from that blissful couple of years. I feel good about letting these go today. It’s an act of faith. I’ve found a new wellspring of inspiration. I’m a lot less interested in the assurance of keeping them than I am excited about what comes next.
Some of the drawings are done on stable paper (ph-neutral, or even cotton paper), but many of them are on plain old copy paper, so I can’t make any promises about how long they’ll survive. Nevertheless, they’re all mounted and matted using ph neutral paper and linen tape to make them last as long as possible.