"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Work for the Winter

In the last two weeks I have been taking some time to reassess work and winter projects. Three weeks away is quite disruptive but perhaps in a good way. Some things that seemed a great idea before Japan now seem not so interesting and I also had a good studio sort out which has made me see some old work with new eyes. I mean really old work, going back some 16 to 30 years. Having some distance has been really useful.

What do I want to do?
As a commercial artist you generally do as you are told. Teaching generally involves looking at the talents, aptitudes and desires of your students and guiding them to fulfil their potential. But what about me?

I am really happy to be working on the bees and the pigs and the careful observed drawing, all of which tend to be crowd-pleasers, so instant ego gratification!

But when I look back at my casual sketchbooks and exploratory drawing from many years ago there is an energy which can get lost in carefully rendered and necessarily designed work. There are also subjects that I want to explore but never felt I had skills in the right medium. Learning printmaking over the last few years has definitely helped but now it’s time to really see what I can do. It may also be that the years are ticking by!!

How to do it?

Sometimes the answer to problems is blindingly obvious. In my case it is "just draw with a different tool". So I am temporarily banning pencils and just working with brushes and felt tips.

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A couple of brush sketches for Diana the huntress from 2000

I found some small sketchbooks from about 8 years ago where I was looking at "notan". I was making Small sketches from paintings or the garden, with just 3 felt tip pens. It was mainly for teaching puroses.

But looking again they are so full of possibilities that I have decided to go back to this simple sketching form.. alongside the commercial work on the pigs, the books and the bees and the careful drawings.

sketch books
IMG_7154

The tiny sketchbook notes. The books are only 4 inches square.

So that's what I will be exploring… :)

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