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.

Yasmin – lockdown 06

Ink wash with graphite and coloured pencil on paper – 80 x 150cm

This took a while. I’m going to put it away and come back to it with fresher eyes in a couple of weeks. Please see below for the preparatory sketches:

And below for the sequential development of the drawing:

Yasmin – lockdown 05

Ink wash, coloured and graphite pencil on paper – 56 x 84cm

This is my first attempt at a finished portrait. Others have just been quick sketches from life drawing classes or with family.

I have no painting materials here with the lockdown. The oils, acrylics and brushes are all in Suffolk, so I’m reduced to what I have – ink with coloured pencils and a large roll of Wickes wallpapering paper.

Somehow these restrictions take the preciousness out of making art. The ‘make do’ nature of materials and production are liberating as it is okay not to be perfect.

Working for a long time on one drawing is revelatory. As you make progress you keep discovering things that are wrong with it and not properly resolved. In the time between waking and sleeping the whole perception of the image can change. It is like the well worn phrase about learning – the more you learn the more you realise how little you know – and it’s the same with drawing.

Below is a gallery snap-shot of the images prepared earlier and more recently to help make the finished drawing.

Lockdown nude – 01

Ink wash, graphite and coloured pencil on paper – 56 x 80cm

A further experiment at woking with ink washes and coloured pencil. Obviously there is no model and this is based on a previous life drawing sketch from Tottenham Art Classes transposed surreally to our living room.

This way of working still has some way to go as I realise the inadequacies of the earlier sketches and working on our dining table as opposed to an upright easel. This makes problems with the lack of foreshortening of the figure – the legs and the sofa are too big and extended.

The drawing weirdly reminds me of naff populist poster art from the 1980’s which is not where I was trying to go with this image!