Friday, 5 June 2009


The last time I put some concerted time into drawing was 2005, the year England won the Ashes. Since then, my life's gone through a lot of changes. Anyway, this year England are attempting to regain the Ashes from Australia, and I'm putting more time and effort into my drawing again. Back then I had this crazy ambition to do a really BIG drawing, it's one of those ambitions I like to comfort myself with just before I fall asleep at night, it helps me drift off, though not always for long.

A little more done...

A few weeks ago I began an attempt at my 'really BIG' drawing at last, on A1 watercolour paper, it's one of my graffiti trees, based on a photograph I took when I visited Scotland, back in 2005. Scotland has the most immense trees, dripping moss and history, craggy veterans, ‘champion' trees like the ones at Ardkinglass Woodland Garden, they seem to personify something of the spirit of Scotland itself. Trees are one of my obsessive subjects (I've done so few drawings really, each one takes such a long time to complete, so I've not given myself enough time to truly obsess over too many things, maybe that's just as well). Graffiti is a subject I obssess over in my photography, whenever I visit a castle or a National Trust property I always end up finding some piece of graffiti, I've got dozens of photographs of graffiti stored digitally on my computer, and doing something with these (a hybrid poetry/art project) is another of my favourite 'sheep' that has guided me into slumberland on more than one occasion. A veteran tree with a name chiselled into its bark, still clear after 40 or more years, seems to me the most poignant image, a memento mori of human fragility, as compared with one of these leafy veterans of several hundred years. Even in its eventual decay a tree provides the most reassuring and tangible image of rebirth - in the thousands of smaller life forms that survive in the decaying wood long after the tree itself has died.

Detail of the base of the tree

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