The exercises in the sixth part of the Quarantine Art Course are time-based.
NB! This time the picture of our art course is especially closely connected with our theme. The time signal bag made sure that Helsinki and whole Finland stayed in right time before the Finnish Broadcasting Company started daily time signals in the 1920s. Every day the bag was hoisted up to the pole of the Observatory’s middle tower and dropped to the ground exactly at noon.
For this exercise, choose a view, a scenery, or an object where changes take place. The model can be indoors or outdoors; the framing can be wide, or you can focus on a small detail.
A clothesline or drying rack is a great choice for this task. You can draw (and paint) laundry according to your own laundry cycle. You can draw overlapping outlines and mix different time layers, or you can draw your work as a temporal sequel, for example from left to right or from bottom to top. The clothesline is a theme reflecting everyday life, and it has a hidden content of sorts: it can be interesting to see in retrospective what kind of clothes were drying at your house during the quarantine period.
Objects such as your home office, the dining table, and even the kitchen countertop with the sink provide similar subject matter: there are enough repetitive features but still constant changes.
Want to draw something simpler? Get a banana, as green as possible, place it on a plate, and draw the banana once in a while over the next few days. You can depict the changes in the banana in a series of images, or by continuing the first image. Finally, you can eat your model. A black-ended banana is still perfect for making smoothies, for example.
Buy some flowers in their bud and follow their life cycle.
An even simpler model? The potato sprouts quickly, if kept in warm. Remember that according to the recommendations of the Finnish Food Authority, potatoes with sprouts longer than 5 mm. are not eligible for sale. Don’t eat your model if it’s green or softened.
If you live in a place where it’s possible to follow the awakening of nature, you can choose an ascending crocus, an opening tulip, a maple flower, or a wider image of the forest edge for this task.
Drawing your own herb plantation was one of the exercises in the 5th chapter of our course, ”The logic of organic growth”. Fruit seeds need a couple of weeks to sprout but the wait is rewarded with pretty cotyledons.
Clouds are a good and stress-free model and looking at the sky brightens the mind. The strip of the sky visible from your window can be drawn and painted as a serial work, like a weather diary.
Objects such as a construction site, a sandbox with toys, a parking lot, a bike rack, a coffee table or even a game of chess are also suitable for the exercise of changing views. The time perspective can be short or long according to your wish and the chosen model, from a few days to several months.
10 x 10
Draw for ten minutes, for ten days. The size of the drawing: 10cm x 10cm. This is a free flow drawing exercise, don’t think too much of what you draw. The image may be completely abstract, but if some figurative elements appear, it’s ok. Create a format or a pattern for the drawings to get you started: a circle, a sloping line, ten blind-drawn dots on the paper etc. If you need inspiration, read the instructions for free flow drawing in the fourth chapter of the course (Journey into the world of doodling).
It doesn’t matter if the days aren’t consecutive.
30 mornings (feasible, naturally, any time of the day)
As soon as you wake up in the morning, draw for 3 minutes. (Or, draw for 3 minutes any other time of the day.)
Don't think about what you're drawing.
In this exercise, too, you can create a starting pattern from which to set off each day: a circle, a sloping line, ten dots blindly pecked on the paper, etc. However, if your mind & pen start to wander in other directions, forget the format. Again, if you need inspiration, read the instructions for free flow drawing in the fourth chapter of the course (Journey into the world of doodling).
If you want, you can include a diary-like element and draw an abstract interpretation of each day’s mood. You can give the drawing a name that reflects your thoughts, but the date and time are also enough.
This challenge will last for a month.
Try to draw every day, but notice: if you miss some days, it does not matter. You will continue when you have time. This exercise is not meant to put more strain on your days.
These are perceptual drawing exercises.
Draw from the model
a) for 10 minutes (use a timer). For some people, this time is really short, for some it feels very long. For both groups, this is a useful exercise!
b) for 3 min (use a timer).
c) Draw for about a minute by counting to 60 (don’t use a timer or a clock, count to 60 quietly in your mind). If this is too difficult, count aloud.
Do this exercise at least 6 times using a different model every time.
NB! The purpose of this task is to cause a positive, small overload in your brain. When you focus simultaneously on drawing and calculating, you are able to make observations and draw them on paper, but perhaps you will not be able to think about the end result. Your attention is partly shifted elsewhere, and this can relieve the pressure from drawing, if there is any.
You may forget which number you were counting, get stuck, or repeat the same numbers back and forth. This is completely normal.
If counting is too easy, try counting backwards.
What could serve as a good model for these exercises? A self-portrait drawn from the mirror works well. A houseplant or a sleeping pet is a good choice. For your 10-minute study you can draw a close-up of the petals of a flower (the structure of a rose is pretty fascinating). You can also ask a family member to stay still for a minute.
People seem to share the photos of their lunch plates on social media: could this be an alternative implementation?
Take a walk in nature. It reduces stress, and stop to draw whenever you find something worth drawing along your path.
+ Additional task: Repeated image
Draw a new, quick image of the same model you have already drawn in the exercise a) or b).