Daily drawing from observation is important to me. If I don’t draw almost every day I get rusty. I don’t think it’s the same for everyone though. I know artists who can take a month long break from drawing and their lines are just as fluid when they start up again as the day they stopped. Not me. I need to stay limber and that means finding something to draw every day, even if it means sketching what’s sitting on my kitchen counter. After travelling (especially to exotic destinations) there’s always an adjustment period when I have to get used to drawing the mundane again and I find that I have a hard time coming up with ideas of what to draw. After all, how can some salted eggplants on my cutting board compare to the temples of Cambodia or the markets of Bangkok? But while I was drawing today I had the radio on for company and I listened to an interview with two of Montreal’s best political cartoonists — Serge Chapleau and Terry Mosher (better known as Aislin). At one point the CBC interviewer asked them how they find their daily ideas and Chapleau had an answer that made me laugh. He said, “If you don’t have any ideas… draw.”


40 Comments on “Draw”

  1. coloratura says:

    That is it! The cutting board has this nightly progression of shapes and colors. And, oh, beets! With their diaphanous blooms 🙂

    Sent from my iPad



  2. Nessa says:

    Shari, your eggplant slices ARE as wonderful as you beautiful Asian sketches. They are full of life and color and are very exciting to look at. I love the Asian sketches you have posted so far, but these inspire me to enjoy the everyday things, I might overlook. Thanks so much for this particular post !

    Liked by 1 person

  3. thevioletknight says:

    I really like how you do paint so frequently, and personally I think your watercolors do have a way of transforming mundane objects into charming compositions! Also, just as a cheeky suggestion – if you’re out of ideas, perhaps you could look into a “challenge” such as the 30 Day Drawing Challenge? I think there’s quite a lot of “challenges” and “memes” floating around the internet, so maybe those could provide some ideas (although you do really lovely paintings anyway, regardless of whether your subject is a temple or a vegetable) 🙂


    • Thanks for the cheeky suggestions. I often look at those painting challenges but I always figure that after a few days I would want to do something else. Have you tried them?

      Liked by 1 person

      • thevioletknight says:

        Haha anytime! Frankly, I have done a few in the past, but nothing too recent (although I want to start a 30 day drawing challenge in the near future). Maybe you’d be interested in one-time challenges, such as the old/new “improvement” challenge, where artists take a very old painting/drawing, and re-create it to see their improvement. Let me know what you think!


  4. Stella says:

    Beautiful drawing of every day things. Very inspiring post – thank you. I, too, need to draw every day, otherwise I seem to feel like a beginner all over again. Weird, isn’t it?!


  5. rosjenke says:

    You made the mundane a work of art. Your posts are always inspiring.


  6. PaulaLisowsky says:

    Thank you! This is just what I needed today.


  7. george smith says:

    Ignace Paderewski said, (I think), “If I don’t practice every day, I notice the difference, If I don’t practice for two days, the critics notice the difference, and if I don’t practice for three days, everybody notices”. The mundane is just fine


  8. Julana says:

    It amazes me what you can do with a little light, color, and tone variation.


  9. Monique says:

    They are SPOT on:)


  10. Thanks for this post. It was an excellent message. I loved the eggplants.


  11. beckabug10 says:

    Shari you are my inspiration! Beautiful!!!


  12. Ross says:

    Mundane is relative… to me everyday life in Montreal seems exotic… you have snow!


  13. bmweeks says:

    This post is spot on! When I don’t draw at least a little every day I can see the difference and feel the rust forming not only on my skills but also on my disposition!


  14. Louise says:

    Sketches of what might be considered mundane bring into focus the elegance of simplicity. It is always there. Truth is simple and a simple truth is always the most profound. I have read many times about the importance of drawing and sketching what is front of us. It helps to establish the habit of observing, of building momentum, of improving our skills, and of developing a vocabulary of forms. Your post serves as a reminder of sketching as a daily practice and living in the moment through what is in front of us. Thank you. I will start today; I always feel like a beginner and often let that overpower picking up my sketchbook. Love the eggplants. There is so much to see in your sketch, Shari.


  15. luisella says:

    It ‘so valuable to know how to show in humble things of everyday life their beauty hidden. And you, like a true artist, you know do well!
    It is useful your post and I’m trying to do as you indicate: a small drawing per day, refining my ability to see and reveal the soul of things. I have a lot to learn technically, no matter if I mess with pen and ink or color brushed not good, I learn by practicing in the meantime, and while I honed my watch.
    The beautiful long eggplants: how did you cook? fries? grilled besides dipped in olive oil, garlic and parsley and a bit of mint? or with tomato and … see, your painting has stimulated my culinary creativity and I feel the aromas and flavors possible and feel soft when I imagine to put in my mouth … wonderful, It ‘life you posters!
    Thank you!


    • Thanks for writing Luisella. These little eggplants were salted and then went into a dish called “Imam Bayildi”, Turkish in origin, stuffed with onions, garlic and tomatoes and then baked. Very delicious.


  16. Barbara Beynon says:

    Very inspirational blog. Thanks, Shari!


  17. Very good advice Shari! I love what you did with the eggplant!


  18. This isn’t mundane at all. Just beautiful!!


  19. Joan says:

    Eggplant is also exotic! Maybe not like the River Kwai, but look at the shape, color and texture of that eggplant. Anything that grows from a seed into a beautifully shaped creation is a miracle! The inside of a bell pepper is the same. All of nature is a wonderment, even if it’s all around us every day.
    I love this painting/sketch as much as the River Kwai one.

    If I don’t draw every day I land in the same place Stella does (poster above) rust sets in, stiff sketches appear, very non spontaneous, I’ve not painted or sketched for several weeks do to an very unexpected health issue, it’s not allowing time for anything but tests, waiting, more tests. & will continue for some time. So I have to content myself with looking at others sketches, yours being my favorite place to visit. I so agree with your words of advice and hope to pick up my pen soon.


    • Joan, I agree about the miracle of fruits and vegetables. I think about that every time I bite into a peach or cut open a ripe tomato.
      I am sorry to hear about this health issue though. I hope that everything gets resolved quickly, and that you return to good health (and your sketchbook) soon. Best wishes!


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