Archives: June 2017

Forget Daily “Work/Life Balance”

June 1, 2017

Forget about daily work/life balance. Juggling too many things at once leads to stress and poor performance. Trying to balance everything by offsetting stuff with other stuff just leads to too much stuff. Set your priorities for each day (or each week or part of each day) and focus intensely on those few things.

Learning to Draw, Day 1

June 1, 2017

This month I’m learning to draw. This is a skill I’ve never had. I once thought that there are analytical people and artistic people, but I’m no longer willing to accept that. Just like swimming or writing is a particular skill that can be taught and learned, drawing and calculus are both skills that can be taught and learned. I already know calculus (all the way through real analysis), so it is time to learn to draw.

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June 3, 2017

First radish of the season! (D’Avignon)

Learning to Draw, Day 3: Copying Upside Down

June 3, 2017

Yesterday I had about 30 pages of information about the brain and how it works and a short symmetrical vase (an optical illusion made out of two face profiles) drawing exercise to do. That took up the whole hour I set aside with only a few squiggly lines on a piece of paper to show, so I didn’t think it was worth a post.

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June 5, 2017

That was a good keynote. Makes me excited about Apple’s future again. I’m preordering a 10.5″ iPad Pro. I’ve been waiting a full year for an update to the line and this looks incredible.

Using Walks, Drives, and Commutes For Work

June 7, 2017

I used to think that walking, driving somewhere, and commuting were things that we fundamentally opposed to work. Complete downtime. Even using them to listen to podcasts isn’t working. It is a good use of the time, but it isn’t working.

Learning to Draw, Day 7: Tracing a Foreshortened Hand on a Plane

June 7, 2017

Today I did an exercise to help see like an artist sees: Using a plastic viewfinder to create a flat plane, resting it on my hand, and then using a non-permanent marker to trace all of the edges. (Reminder: In drawing, an edge is where any two areas meet, not just an outline.)

Learning to Draw, Day 9: Hand with Object

June 9, 2017

I repeated yesterday’s exercise, but this time with a fountain pen in my hand, cap on. It took me about an hour. I still don’t quite get the shading, but it is becoming easier to zoom in on details and lines. 

Learning to Draw, Day 10: Negative Space

June 10, 2017

Today I had to draw a chair, but not in the usual way. Instead of drawing the lines and shapes that make up the chair, I had to draw the negative space instead. I didn’t take a photo or use the plastic pane very much, but drew from looking at the chair and occasionally using the frame to check proportions. This exercise is supposed to help with noticing negative space, framing, picking a guide for scaling, and comparing angles. After I was finished, I erased out the tone from the area between the shapes I drew. In this case, that ended up being the chair. 

Learning to Draw, Day 11: Perspective

June 11, 2017

Today I did exercises to learn how to draw perspectives. The first was about finding scales and angles, then the second was a drawing of a complex scene to put those to use. I chose our entryway, complete with a crooked doormat and a pile of our shoes. 

Learning to Draw, Day 12: Profile Portrait Warm-Up

June 12, 2017

Burning the midnight oil. Today I read about expanding the sighting and spacing I’ve been working on the last few days to faces. Then I spent about an hour applying what I learned to a line drawing of a portrait by Sargent. 

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June 14, 2017

Trying out Things 3. I really like the hierarchy: Areas > Projects > Sub headings/groupings > To do items > Checklists. Exactly what I’ve wanted. Goes 1-2 levels deeper than most to-do apps.

Learning to Draw, Day 16: In Progress

June 16, 2017

Today’s drawing is still in progress. I had a busy day today and spent the entire evening down in the city, so I only got about 30 minutes to start a drawing of a leaf on the cover of this book I’m reading. I’m going to work on filling in the details tomorrow.

Learning to Draw, Day 17: Filling in the Details

June 17, 2017

Today I filled in the details of yesterday’s drawing and fixed some of the scale issues. It isn’t perfect, but I’m going to call it complete today and move on to another drawing tomorrow.

Why I Canceled My Medium Membership

June 18, 2017

I jumped on-board the Medium Membership train back in March, as soon as I could. I was excited about it. I couldn’t wait to see the great content behind the paywall and to see what new features they were going to roll out just for members.

Learning to Draw, Day 21: Coffee Cup

June 21, 2017

Instead of another try at my portrait, I decided to try another drawing with a focus on light and shadow, so I set up a swinging arm lamp to light up a coffee cup on a pedestal. 

Putting Daily Drawing On Hold

June 22, 2017

I’m putting my daily drawing exercises on hold. They tax me more than I want in terms of both time and mental focus. Instead of a fun creative exercise, pushing through these at the end of long work days ends each day on a low note.