Thursday, 26 July 2007
This is the first drawing I've done where I deliberately worked onto a wet page rather than drawing the image first and then going over it in water, which was the technique I'd been using for the previous couple of envelopes. Actually, I used both techniques here, I drew the outlines first, laid down the wash and then worked the little circles into the wet wash. I like the uncontrolled painterly result of working onto wet.
Posted: 11.29pm on 21.7.07
I've been reading several books on Eva Hesse lately and it certainly shows in this drawing, which is directly inspired by her ink and wash circles. Eva Hesse has been one of my favourite artists for years. I've always loved her sculpture but when I saw her exhibition at Tate Modern in 2003, the thing that surprised me most were her drawings. I had only seen them reproduced in monochrome before and when I saw them in the flesh, I was astounded by the power and tonal range that she got from simple shapes and shades of grey.
Posted: 11.57pm on 20.7.07
More pen and wash, I was experimenting deliberately with a pen that I knew was very water-soluble. The outlines of the ovals were drawn first and then I went over the shapes with water. The thinness of the paper can be a problem with this kind of drawing - it's not really robust enough and buckles if it gets too wet. I sometimes wish I'd bought expensive high quality envelopes instead of using the ones I had in my stationary cupboard but usually I accept this limitation as just part of the project.
Different brands of pen give very different shades of wash - the Rotring gives a very delicate grey while the Staedtler fineliner that I used here gives a distinctly bluey-purple wash.
Posted: 11.32pm on 19.7.07
This envelope was the start of a real run of ink and wash drawings. These shapes strike me as sort of architectural, when I was drawing them I was definitely thinking of them as being walls. Looking at them now, I am slightly reminded of the sort of haunted landscapes that Giorgio de Chirico painted.
Posted: 10.33pm on 17.7.07
Friday, 20 July 2007
A bit of brown for a change, this is drawn with a Pitt artists pen in the rather wonderfully named, sanguine.
When I was drawing this, I was very clear that it was a bridge but looking at it now, I see that it could just as easily be a garden or architectural plan. I like that drawing has this history of conveying information in maps, diagrams and plans as well as being used in art, it sets up a bit of a tension that intrigues me. I think it also make drawing much more familiar to us - we are surrounded by various forms of drawing our entire lives - and maybe that makes drawing a bit more approachable than some other forms of art.
Posted: 11.49pm on 15.7.07
These shapes remind me of a photo of an ornate baroque mirror that I have in my image files, which sparked memories of the kitsch 1960's or 70's convex mirror that used to hang in my Granny's house. I remember it as being very nautical in style, I think it looked something like a porthole and it may even have had sea creatures around the frame. I wish I had a photograph or could remember it more clearly. However, perhaps it's these half remembered visual memories that fuel artists: I think we're often searching for something that we felt once and then lost.
Posted: 10.47pm on 14.7.07
It's quite unusual for me to add shadows to my drawings but these seemed to need to be anchored more firmly on the page. I love the very pale grey that the rapidograph pens give when I use them to make a wash.
Posted: 10.44pm on 13.7.07
I had such trouble with this day, I drew about 10 envelopes but didn't like any of them. Finally, I decided that I needed something very simple (all the other drawings had been too muddled and overly ornate) so I drew this simple pen and wash 'splatter pattern'. It was such a relief that I liked it because time was rapidly running out and I was starting to panic a little!
Posted: 11.51pm on 12.7.07
I like the way that fringed lines always make the shape stand out, it's something I've noticed before but it still always surprises me whenever I use it.
The neatness of the posting time was a complete accident but it pleased me very much when I noticed it.
Posted: 11.11pm on 11.7.07
Although they look a bit like pine cones, these shapes started life as yet another telephone doodle. I don't actually draw the envelopes whilst talking on the phone (they need more concentration than that) but I often use my absent minding doodling as a starting point for more considered drawings.
Posted: 11.13pm on 10.7.07
This is my favourite envelope this week, I like the organic branching structure and all the little marks creating various intensities of tone. It was also interesting to deliberately draw a structure without using an outline. When I was first learning to draw I did a lot of modelled drawing, where you draw in charcoal or pencil just using tonal variation and no lines. It's a lot harder to do with pen and ink, which lends itself far more readily to linear styles of drawing.
Posted: 10.45pm on 9.7.07
Thursday, 12 July 2007
I was feeling uninspired, so I had a look the art books in my study. I took down 1000 Extra/Ordinary Objects and flicked through it until my eye was caught by a picture of a Ugandan doll made from dried banana leaves. Although the original had legs and arms, I liked the shape of the torso and head, so I just drew that bit. Of course, with my love of 'variation on a theme' and repetition, I couldn't resist adding two more versions.
Apparently banana leaves are a common material in Uganda, where they are used to make all sorts of objects, including some very beautiful packaging.
Posted: 11.47pm on 8.7.07
Not so sure what this drawing is about but I think it might be something to do with ribbons or writing. That reminds me, I should see if I can get some typewriter ribbon for the beautiful old typewriter I bought at auction several years ago. I've been meaning to play around with it to see if I can use it to make artists' books. I know that technology has moved on a lot but isn't it amazing that we could use textiles to make words in that way.
I still like the messiness and the quality of text you can get from old typewriters. I used to play with my granny's one, I remember being fascinated by it. I still like old letters and documents where you can see the erased and retyped words: sometimes perfection is over-rated.
Posted: 11.04pm on 7.7.07
Tuesday, 10 July 2007
I was in the mood for something different so I dripped and flicked ink over the envelope with an ink brush pen before going over the ink blots with a pin and then when it was dry I outlined the ovals with a pen.
Whilst doing this envelope I discovered that flicking ink without putting down newspaper is A Bad Idea - cleaning my desk and keyboard afterwards took quite a while. You'd think that I would know this by now, after years of being an artist, but my enthusiasm invariably gets the best of me and I forget these simple precautions.
Posted: 11.14pm on 5.7.07
I was thinking of prayer flags when I drew these, although not Tibetan ones, I had a half remembered memory of something American Indian in my head but I have no idea what.
Posted: 11.08pm on 4.7.07
Another variation on a theme: although it's different, this clearly echoes the 'little bundles' drawing from the 22nd June.
This envelope was really badly bent when it came home, I had to straighten it out quite a bit before I could scan it and you can still see the lines.
Posted: 8.40pm on 1.7.07
Although it wasn't based on it, something about this drawing reminds me of the work of Charles Rennie Macintosh.
I first became interested in the Art Nouveau movement as a teenager: it was one of the first styles of art that I really fell in love with. However, unlike many of my other early art passions, my admiration for the sinuous, sensual lines of Art Nouveau has stayed with me.
Posted: 11.40pm on 30.6.07
Several people have remarked on how the drawings are usually different in style from day to day. I'd also noticed this, I think it's largely because the envelopes get posted so I don't get to see them for a couple of days. My memory is so bad that by the time I come to draw my envelope, I've usually forgotten what I drew the day before! Frankly, it's a good job that I take notes in my dedicated Diary Project notebook, otherwise you might just get the same drawing over and over again!
Posted: 11.44pm on 28.6.07
Sunday, 1 July 2007
I was thinking of river tributaries on maps when I drew this. I enjoyed the way the water-soluble ink softened the lines into a watery mistiness. I'm still looking for some waterproof coloured pens though.
Posted: 11.57pm on 26.6.07
When I was drawing these little arrows, I remembered my Dad singing:
"Little boxes on the hillside, Little boxes made of ticky-tacky
Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes all the same
There's a green one and a pink one and a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of ticky-tacky and they all look just the same."
He used to sing this when we drove past housing estates filled with identical houses, even though we lived in a 70's housing estate ourselves at the time.
And remembering that song, I thought that maybe my little arrows were rows of little houses with snow on the roof.
Posted 11.00pm on 25.6.07
Yet another drawing that started out as a doodle. I tried a version of this with the little circles coloured in but it looked too decorative so I redid it again in black and white.
Posted: 11.42pn on 24.6.07
I was halfway through drawing these when I suddenly thought 'prawns, why am I drawing prawns?' I felt a bit ambivalent about these but in the end I decided to let the crustaceans stay.
They didn't start out as prawns, they were meant to be an organic extension of the previous day's drawing but they turned into prawns all by themselves. I often find that the drawings have a mind of their own; I'll start out drawing one thing but then something else will appear. Drawing 'from my head' rather than from something directly in front of me means that I can be open to these accidents of the subconscious. Although quite what interest my subconscious has in prawns, I couldn't really say...
Posted: 11.46pm on 23.6.07