Saturday, 2 January 2010

Today I collected my Shap Abbey drawing from the RBSA where a very nice man helped me find my picture from the store. His name was Gordon Shaw, a lecturer, artist & RBSA member. He told me that he works on large scale abstract work, though he used to work with a very fine Rotring pen and watercolour wash. He was very complimentary about my work and generously showed me a lovely pencil drawing and a pen and ink drawing with water colour wash he had designed for a Chrismtas card a few years ago. He showed me these on his iphone where he keeps a portfolio of pieces, a great idea I think. I get extremely nervous when taking my work to galleries (I'm generally a very nervous person, social situations are a problem for me) so I was very grateful for Mr Shaw's kindness & the generous interest he showed in my work. He told me that his son, who's a graphic designer, is designing a website for him. I'll keep an eye open for it.

I wouldn't have got anywhere today if it hadn't been for my friend G, who had earlier taken me to Ikea in Wednesbury to look for picture frames. Later, after collecting my drawing from the RBSA I treated myself to Thames and Hudson's lavishly illustrated publication of David Hockney's 'Secret Knowledge' his exploration of the relationship between art and photography, or rather how artists have made use of the camera obscura and the camera lucida - my copy sits on my desk as I type this, still pristine in its polythene wrapping. I'm saving it for later.

Hockney's book is particularly of interest to me as I work mainly from my own photographs which I take with a digital camera and print on an HP inkjet printer. I enjoy working from photographs, I see no shame in it, after all I believe the artist's interpretation is the valid thing, the artist's hand and eye are where the magic happens (and the brain, of course) and not in their geographical proximity to their subject matter when attempting to make that magic happen. In effect I begin my own drawing the moment I make the decision to take a photograph of the subject.

That said, for a multitude of reasons I know I should discipline myself to work regularly from life as well as from photographic sources, something which I do not at present do. So when G dropped me off home this evening I made a couple of quick sketches of Mom in her favourite pose - watching TV. I drew the portrait using Derwent's water soluble graphite pencils (but ended up not dissolving the graphite), for the sketch of her legs and feet I used a 5b pencil. I realise that they aren't the best drawings, and that I can be quite a lazy draftsperson if I'm not totally engaged in what I'm observing. It's something I should work on, if I'm going to progress with my artwork with any seriousness.

I've just noticed my error in dating the feet...I'm still in the old foot foward into the new now I suppose.


Perpetual Chocoholic said...

Your "not best" drawings exceed my good ones!

I agree with you on the use of photos. I draw a lot of children. Hard to draw those from live models! It is important as you say though to also draw from life sometimes. Keeps one sharp and helps with speed and changes in light and movement.

Kay said...

You're very kind Perpetual Chocoholic. I've really got to discipline myself to draw from life, my trouble is finding the subject I want to draw when I want to draw it! Photographs are such convenient reference material in that sense.