This time the drawing experiments with Saunders Waterford 300gsm hot pressed paper. It is very good.
It is difficult to capture the colour, light and detail of the pencil work with the very basic lighting and camera set up I have at home. Looking at the image now there are things that need further work but I am pleased with both the likeness of Yasmin and the connecting spaces within the picture. It is hard to know how bold to go with the contrasts of the shadowed spaces and walls but next time I will try and push these further.
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.
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.
This is the fourth time I’ve tried to capture this view. The colours look too bright, as if I’ve applied my recent colour theory tuition to the extreme. As a reminder, please see the earlier versions below:
The ride up to Hull from Peasenhall was good. The cargo bike worked well to carry my painting and camping gear and to get around Hull on the couple of days I was there.
The campsites were invariably occupied by big cars, caravans, camper homes and lean-to walk in tents. There were no other cyclists or walkers travelling light. Often I was given unasked for advice about my route or the state of the traffic but always from the perspective of a driver. I began to feel a certain dislocation as I realised these other campers knew nothing of the way I was travelling. I would watch many of them sitting inside their camper van boxes with the glow of a television on, wondering why they might want to do this, shutting themselves off from the sky and land around them?
The above vehicle combination was driven and occupied by a single man. He sat inside the small caravan all evening. The windows had curtains, just like any suburban home, which he proceeded to close when he put on the lights, shutting out the coming evening stars and fresh air.
On the road.
My messy printing needs to get sharper. The idea for this image came from watching the winter sunrise from the train as I headed northward to teach in Norwich.
Winter printing is always good. The mechanical work of cutting and printing by hand in the dark afternoons, when the daylight has gone, always encourages new ways of image making.