Wednesday, 26 August 2009


I'd really love a dedicated space where I can do my artwork. Instead I'm chasing the light, or crippling myself sitting crouched over on the bed to draw. As summer draws to a close there's going to be less opportunity to take my drawing outside or to sit in the verandah to get the light (our verandah's freezing in winter, there's no heating and the wind finds every gap and whistles through it, sometimes our verandah sings and rattles like a living thing comforting itself). The past year has seen my eyesight deteriorate, I'm well aware of it, it's one of the things that's driving me to make the most of my talents while I'm still able. There might well come a day when I can't make these detailed journeys and recreations on paper, and I've wasted enough time as it is.

Finding enough light to work comfortably by this evening was difficult. A dismal day shrank away to a gloomy, drizzle bothered evening. I turned my back on my bedroom window and worked for a while under artificial light, in front of my PC (I was listening on-line to the wonderful BBC listen again site while I worked). During a break I noticed how the light flung the shadow of the plastic basket I keep my ink and pens in at the foot of my drawing, almost like a shimmering extension of the drawing itself. I thought this made an interesting counterpoint to the drawing itself.

There are things about this picture I like, and things I'm disatisfied with. I'm worried that without the contrast of black on white the ink loses impact, also that the image loses definition in places, and that it might be difficult to see what's going on, that there's water in the background for instance. On the positive side, I like the contrast of shiny and matt achieved by overpainting the acrylic paint with gesso (I don't know how this will age mind, it's probably a reckless pairing, like thin on fat), I also like the sparkle of gold on gesso, and I enjoy the sensation of working on smooth then rough surface with the dip pen, reminding me even more of how much each new drawing I make (even a drawing from one of my own photographs) is a journey. A journey, in this case literally, over rough and smooth terrain.
I'm also pleased (and provoked) by the contrast and interplay between the abstract/formless blobs of ink, paint and gesso, and the defining lines made by the pen. I'm interested in ways of experimenting with making my pen drawings more 'painterly' and of course, of introducing colour and further layers of texture. I think in this drawing, if nothing else, I'm at least groping towards new ways of doing this.

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