Iljuwas 2020 light speed

Split Eagle Bracelet By Bill Reid

When depicting object in space, I find it best to shade its simplified form first rather than accurate, detailed line work because improving speed is very useful. Shade the overall object then work in the details. If one’s ultimate goal is to draw from imagination – the dreamed image in our head – then it very likely require rapid working of the hands to quickly capture it on paper before the vision morphs and fade into doubts. Therefore the more tools we have the easier to accomplish the task – proportion, contrast, object knowledge/history, speed. Similar to keeping a written journal to help formulate and understand our desires / conflict, the ability to develop and expose the scenery in our dream will lighten our mind and open up new experiences.

Iljuwas 2020 + Holm

Bill Reid tschumos bracelet

The balance of negative and positive space is all important and essential in native art. Thick to thin always, constantly resizing to fit the bigger picture, rarely straight. Like landscape, lines flow together.

From Bill Holm’ s book Northwest Coast Indian Art – Analysis of form. Variation of salmon trout head.

In the moment sketch 2020 flock and field

Fall foliage and family of birds 20 nov 2020

One wonderful lesson from drawing outdoor is it forces the artist to jot down what’s most important, what most captures that moment of inspiration. It isn’t drawing every leaf, every branch, every bird or every cloud. It is about the variety of marks – the unexpected, the ‘just do it’ reality of make time to go out, break old habits, be un-afraid of strangers.

Iljuwas 2020 grizzly bear

Grizzly bear mantel piece by bill reid

Because of the strong symmetry found in native art, I find it lends itself useful to draw with both hands in alternation – not simultaneously which would be quite a feat in of itself. Interestingly each hand behave differently in approach to mark making. For example the left would be more aware of the overall outline / profile while the right tend to slip into the detail faster probably because of the comfort level from years of practice. Aside from developing dexterity in both hands, it is exciting to know one can also develop a second opinion towards one’s own art.

Iljuwas 2020 pairs

We are born with two of each – two hands, two feet, two eyes, two minds???? What if that was? That would be nice as life seems faster nowadays with so much information available, endless books to read, trails to hike, places to see. Even computers have eight cores and triple monitors. It feels only right to optimize our other half. It would be like living two lives instead of one. The above is drawn with both hands.

Iljuwas 2020 born again

Bill Reid’s Raven Earrings

Learning to draw with the other hand is interesting if thought as giving ourselves a second chance to rewrite the past but with the advantage of an experienced teacher; in this case the more abled right hand and a matured mind. At first creating a simple line is a struggle and uncomfortable – the muscle overly tense and seemingly stubborn yet this time there is patience to not quit because of the awareness of the bigger picture and that life is a journey. There is no labouring over minute details and no pressure of perfection, no expectations that infects us with doubt and insecurity that distracts us from the joy of art. And like a baby learning to walk, only this time, we are already eyeing the bicycle.

In the moment sketch 2020 – homeless

Man doing tai chi

There is a growing homeless population in our part of town and as the weather gets colder, the little comfort they have will be even less. The city allows shelter in place at the park. Most chooses to camp in the bushes for privacy but some stay in the open. Mid afternoon on a lonesome gravel field, a man changes position in burst silently against a backdrop of cedar trees and overcast sky.