Light at the end of the tunnel

Ink wash and coloured pencil on paper – 150 x 78cm

This is another big drawing where the ink washes have not worked as smoothly as I’d hoped. They are impossible to get even on this kind of paper. I’d hoped that with the additional pencil work layered on top they’d disappear or become less visible. In reality they do not look as strong as in the photograph but are still too dominant against the coloured pencil.

I am going to experiment further with some different watercolour papers – Arches Aquarelle, Saunders Waterford and Fabriano Artistico – all hot pressed and at 300gsm weights. Hopefully one of these will work better. So far the best paper I’ve found for this technique is wall lining paper from Wickes but the rolls are not wide enough and I worry about their long term stability.

Yasmin in lockdown

Ink wash with graphite and coloured pencil on paper – 112 x 80cm

These big drawings take some time.

I was trying to experiment with not using perspective conventions and instead using the flattening axonometric techniques of architectural drawing, similar to Japanese and Chinese art of the 18th and 19th century.

However, placing a figure in them – Yasmin – is difficult. The spatial logic tells you that in the same way you can see the top of the plant pot and it’s elevation simultaneously you should be able to see the top of Yasmin’s head and her face too. I tried but couldn’t get this to work. It just looked silly.

Going back to look at Hokusai prints and drawings their figures do and don’t work within the image’s spatial conventions. Often there is no perspective at all with figures in the foreground and background having the same size, importance and detail.

The blackbird sadly came to rest in our garden and then to die. We kept it quiet company as it hopped about, to old and weak to fly away, making sure there was enough water near by for him to reach.