Really had no idea it’s so long since I posted – that doesn’t mean nothing has been going on, but maybe I’m not ready to share it. To update things here, there is a new strange family of clay figures, based on a photo that also provided the basis for some paintings. Very keen to do some drawing now, in a broad definition of what drawing might be, the sort of work I have previously described as thinking aloud. Meanwhile …
Some people like to use sketchbooks, I tend to do my visual thinking on random pieces of paper. There are always a few versions of things I’m working on that take them through the development of the image. Often the final outcome is a large piece of work. My current ideas are not coming from specific or individual sources, I’m taking all sorts of visual and verbal references and allowing them to collide. All the pieces shown here are on watercolour postcards and combine ink drawing and writing, painting and collage, and printing off card. As they are visual thoughts, I’m not editing much at the moment, just seeing how they turn out. There are eight so far, these are in order of making, numbers 1, 2, 4 and 7.
Among the early work in this series was a simple watercolour crayon drawing of a single figure – my grandmother on my father’s side. There is something appealing about the pose and the lack of definition in an ageing face. It seems this one will also lend itself to clay modelling, and I’m halfway through a clay version. This drawing is A4 size.
This led to using the image as a repeat – almost a pattern element. Throughout my work there is a recurring theme of seated figures in rows. The group of three uses watercolour crayon and watercolour washes, and is approximately 14 ins (35 cm) square.
Still working on things I posted previously, but I also started a drawing in the Family Photos series which has led to another idea. This is the first time I’ve done close focus on a family photo that includes my own generation, so there isn’t that historical element of completely different fashions – types of clothes and hair, for example – that locate the image well in the past. Also, it is a colour photo, whereas all of those I’ve studied previously were necessarily black and white, though I usually chose to introduce colour into the paintings and drawings.
I wanted to use pencil for this – no colour, which made the drawing a slower and more disciplined process than usual. This gave me the opportunity to think ahead on the project and I am planning a sculptural approach to the next phase.
When I started blogging, I presumed I would add something at least weekly, so am somewhat daunted to find it’s over a month since my last post. I have been quite busy with random non-art activities, but also quietly progressing some new ideas. So I’m making a random post, to include a bit of non-art together with things I’m currently working on. If I wait till they are finished, it could be months.
This is a piece of party decoration that took up a lot of my time last week. I was quite happy with the way it worked out. Three different people had parties, and I made some giant letters of their names, plus a message for one of them who is leaving us, made of hand-cut paper lettering. The large letters are paper collage on mountboard.
I am also making some small cardboard figures. One set are drawings on thin card, the others are thick card with fabric collage. I have an idea for these that I’ll explain at a later date, and it’s also the start of moving (tentatively) into 3D.
And I’ll be grateful if anyone can tell me why I have never taken a decent photo with a digital camera. Convenient it is, quality – not so much.
There’s a section of the painting in the previous post that I particularly liked, both for the content and technique. It’s the row of figures drawn in watercolour crayon with a gouache wash giving lightweight colour.This technique gives a sense of liveliness because the drawing seems to carry more detail than is actually there.
I have since done two versions, in the second the paint colour deliberately overtakes the drawn marks, however the weight of the colour obliterates a vaguely ethereal effect that was was due to the pale wash.From here I want to work on a larger version in letterbox format putting the figures into a row rather than two tiers. The increased scale also means working in acrylic, which I’m not sure about because its ‘plastic’ finish will create very different surface qualities, and I like the softness of the gouache. So it may be that I will use acrylic washes, returning to the more transparent effect of the original detail.
I’m finding the technical elements of WordPress more difficult to work with now as the differences of scale are not apparent with all three the same size within the blog post, but using the first image smaller disrupted the text. You can see I didn’t quite solve that when resizing it. More to learn, but I’d rather be painting than wrestling with the computer.
These paintings are also new versions following a drawing first shown on the blog in April. I’m repeating the photo to give context. The interesting thing to me here is the peculiar perspective, where the face seen in the car window seems out of proportion to the other figures. There is more distance between them than is apparent from what you can see of the cars, there’s a kind of telescoping effect.
The next piece is a deliberate effort to move away from how the photograph works. As with the station paintings, it maybe needs a definite change of scale to progress. The face in the car window is a photograph clipped from the newspaper (no one I know) with some gouache work added .