• As noted elsewhere in this blog I acknowledge that self-portraits both reveal and conceal their subjects. I’m also interested in the vertiginous shock of recognition I experience through these drawings. Recognition not of myself in the present moment, but of myself in the future and the past. Myself in and through suddenly vivid familial…[Read more]

  • A sketchbook project, like this one with the bees, is easy to re-enter and exit when life gets complicated. To be able to focus on something familiar and settle the mind is wonderfully satisfying.




  • All of my drawing projects are made up of multiple drawings, usually of the same subject. When I finish a project I scan the completed drawings and use these sets to create simple QuickTime movies. Here’s a QuickTime sketch of one of the videos I’d like to use in a new installation. Each of the […]

  • ThumbnailI’ve been creating simple videos with digital scans of my drawings for some time. These videos allow me to represent sets of multiple images within a time-based framework. Recently I’ve been considering ways to combine a number of these video animations within a single installation. Here’s one of my Photoshop “sketches.” I imagine the grey area […]

  • ThumbnailI’ve been working on a new drawing course for the spring. It’s a hybrid seminar class that includes studio assignments along with research and writing on a topic that relates to my studio practice. This blog has been a useful tool to help me track and consider recurring themes within my work. I’ve decided to focus […]

  • I love daily drawing projects. They’re a great way to get motivated and develop your drawing skills. I often assign this kind of project to my drawing students. I ask them to complete a series of related drawings over a number of consecutive days. Before they start they need to develop a framework for their […]

  • ThumbnailI’m trying the add the practice of meditation to my everyday life. At this point I can only do 10 minutes (when I remember to do it). I often call my drawing method “meditative,” as a way to describe the attention I try to bring to the process of drawing. I want to be in the […]

  • I don’t imagine this set of recently completed spider drawings will be as well-received as my ongoing bee series.

    A recent study discovered that spiders suffer the negative consequences of human land use (including habitat fragmentation, fire and pesticides) as much as other species, but don’t experience the same level of public sympathy.

  • ThumbnailI’ve mounted and installed a number of the bee drawings in the faculty show at Emily Carr. Although I often draw in sketchbooks, I typically don’t leave the drawings in the book once they’re done. This set have been mounted on two different depths of small wooden cradled panels.

  • There are days when my hands feel stupid—apparently incapable of drawing anything of value. They’re disconnected from my mind’s eye; whatever they produce feels clumsy, heavy and dull. I’m not sure that anyone else would notice what feels wrong about these drawings… there have been times when I didn’t notice it myself until afterwards. I […]

  • A few drawings from a recent sketchbook project.

    My new favourite drawing tool is a multi-coloured lead pencil; I’m always interested to ways to use arbitrary (random) colour. These drawings include small watercolour additions, and may yet integrate text.

  • elizamacken wrote a new blog post: More bees 4 years ago

    When I start a new drawing project I’m not always aware of why a particular subject has captured my interest. There is always a link of some kind between my psychic state and the subject of my work. Sometimes I’m aware of this link at the onset, and other times I discover it through the […]

  • elizamacken wrote a new blog post: Sketchbook project 4 years ago

    ThumbnailI find a great deal of satisfaction producing drawing projects within small sketchbooks (particularly Moleskine books). There’s something both engaging and reassuring about working within a limited scale, with a defined number of pages. Two days ago I finished a book of drawings of a baby’s face I began last year. These drawings will be scanned and […]

  • While on holiday in the Okanagan I became fascinated with the bees working in the lavender bushes near our patio. They’re completely impossible to draw, but I couldn’t resist trying. Strangely, expecting and accepting failure provides a strong motivation within my drawing practice.

  • One of the recurring ways I signal the use of a lens within my work is by representing blurred and out-of-focus images. This fuzziness destabilizes the image, and obscures detail. These figure drawings aren’t about specific individuals; I’m interested in engaging with the unconfirmed.

  • I’ve been thinking about drawing as a means to practice, and accept, failure. Failure and inadequacy within drawing (and other forms of art) can be a means to engage the viewer in the creative process. When I see an unusually technically proficient artwork I think, “This work doesn’t need me; it’s totally self-sufficient.” In fact, […]

  • As I’ve noted elsewhere in this blog, I’m not concerned with mastery within my drawing practice; my interest lies with the vagaries of the materials and my physical and psychic interactions with the subject in and through the drawing process.

  • Much of the work in drawing I’ve done over the past ten years represents an ongoing investigation into what might be called portraiture. These drawings of faces represent a desire to know and understand someone else, as well as an acknowledgement of the impossibility of doing so. All of the portraits I produce represent both […]

  • ThumbnailI’ve been working on a community-engaged drawing project, Vancouver Draw Down , for the past several months. This project involves presenting a series of drawing workshops at various organizations across the city, culminating in a day-long city-wide finale of drawing activities on Saturday, July 23. Although this work takes me away from my studio,…[Read more]

  • ThumbnailAs noted elsewhere on this blog I’m interested in moving the drawn images into a time-based digital format. Doing so opens up new possibilities for their presentation. I want to explore how meaning is expressed through duration. This QuickTime movie of a series of watercolour drawings of a baby’s face is part of an ongoing project: Baby. Here’s […]

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