Friday, 8 January 2010

New and Old

Firstly, two posthumous 'happy bithdays' - Elvis Presley and my Nan, two formative figures of my childhood. I lost my Nan almost exactly 24 years ago next month and I still miss her. Love to you Nan, wherever you are.

I've begun another drawing based on the mossy trees photograph, the one on which I based the drawing I finished earlier this week. In that drawing I left large areas of the foreground trees as white space and now I want to make a drawing that explores the texture and patterns of the moss more thoroughly.

I also like the figurative presence the trees in my drawings are taking on, almost in lieu of people or dramatic actors. As I began working on this drawing I started thinking how my rendering of texture and pattern often becomes stylised, and how I might play around with this for decorative effect. As a student I loved using collages of sweet wrappers and crumpled or torn paper, over working the rough texture with pastels and ink. I'm wondering now if this is something I might incorporate into my drawings. So far my attempts at adding colour to my drawings haven't been very successful, or the results haven't been what I've wanted. Adding colour to my pen and ink drawings definitely takes something away. I like the drama and the crispness of black and white and colour only seems to dilute this.

I began my new drawing yesterday, though I was already pondering a drawing of this design when working on the first one. I didn't stretch the paper this time, only stuck it to the plywood support with masking tape. I treated part of the paper with a thin wash of clear gesso mixed with white gouache, which gives a nice gritty and crisp surface to work on. As I laid down my initial pencil marks it struck me that it might also provide a nice surface for a pencil drawing. I've an idea for such a drawing, but it involves sitting in an open doorway and it's too cold for that at the moment!

I've also worked a little more on this old drawing of a Cornish harbour scene. Incredible to believe I began it last decade! One of these days I might finish it.

Finally, there was a touching obituary of Craigie Aitchison on Last words this afternoon. Although I don't know much about his work, his was a very distinctive style and by the sound of it he was quite a colourful character. How I envy people who can just be themselves without any constraints of self-consciousness or worrying about pleasing others. Just being 'yourself' - it's truly a gift.

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