Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sydney runs, for Illustration Friday

Sydney runs like the wind...well, at least he does in his own mind and that's what matters. Those of you who know Sydney know how shy he is. Here he makes a rare appearance to the public, only for Princess Pepper Cloud.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


This is an entirely inaccurate painting of a wren using watercolour, ink & bits of an old skirt. I've never included fabric in my work before, let alone pieces of a beloved skirt that is now too small for me. I kinda like it.

I'm also working on a new project. But I will still be doing other drawings and posting them here.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Friday, August 18, 2006

I've developed, I have!

Remember that drawing in colour course I was doing and finished last month? The course which was my reason for starting this blog in the first place? Well, I sent off my last assignment and got my tutor's final comments back this week.

Here's what he had to say:

"Thank you once again for your drawings and your thoughtful comments on them, which I enjoyed looking at and reading through very much. I can see from what you have sent me that you have been committed not only to the practice of drawing but also to the process of self-reflection and self-criticism that, I think, are perhaps the two most consistently fundamental aspects of making interesting and engaging work. I think that there has definitely been a development in the work that you have sent me over this course, and a development that I hope will continue. I see this development as evident in a steady letting go of preconceived notions of what a good drawing should be and increasingly just responding to what you see.

In your notes you wrote, "I know there is more to art than just drawing what you see". This is very true, but it also need not be true. Drawing what you see on one level is so simple and yet hugely complex, everyone's approach to drawing is so distinctive and unique. Not only do people represent things very differently but people also perceive things very differently depending on their particular perspectives and points of view."

He then goes on to comment specifically on some of the drawings I sent:

"Cornish cider & self-portrait with backwards drawing - I think that in these drawings you have developed a sensitivity to working with colour and more of a freedom in your drawing. I think that your use of text (decorative flower drawing) is amusing, like a visual joke but I think this distracts a bit from the more subtle and abstract process of building an image from coloured shapes.

The potter at work - I like the bottom left hand corner of this picture and the arrangement of shapes, forms and colours.

Abstract, red coat - I think it is probably good for you to do this kind of drawing because it encourages you to look at the forms and play of light on objects just as simple shapes and colours without trying to attach meaning or make into a representation of something and this is when your drawing seems to work best.

Expressive colour - purple cat - It is interesting to see how the purple and yellow really complement each other on this drawing and balance each other out and the red really stands out. I think it could either do with some green to balance out the red or just to get rid of the red. This is an interesting thing to be able to do though, to use complementary colours to make harmony within the picture. For more about this read Johannes Itten's "The Elements of Colour" if you haven't already (I think the best book on colour theory).

Mother - I like this drawing, it has a very odd sense about it. I particularly enjoyed what you wrote about it and told me that it is you and your mother. I think it is interesting to draw yourself as a baby with your mother who may well be more like the age you are now. It reminds me of a story by an author called Paul Auster in a book of short stories called "Why Write" in which he finds his father frozen in ice and his father appears to be younger than he is now. It is a strange twist on what it means to be a parent and your relationship with your parents as you grow older. It also reminds me of a painting by Ashville Gorky which is also a painting that he did from a photograph of himself as a child with his mother. It is in the Museum of Modern Art in New York and worth seeing if you ever go there. I like the calendar in this picture as a kind of mapping of the passing of time. It signifies time without placing it. I think this theme could be developed in other work.

I like your use of collage material (dead tulips tryptich) and the way that the patterns and colours are picked up in your drawings. This could be developed much more thoroughly by considering the shapes that you are using more.

Where you go from here is really up to you but I think you should definitely continue with your drawing. I would suggest using paints, maybe just start with some fairly cheap acrylics, I think the Rowney System 3 paints are quite good. I would also suggest that you just give yourself a project, write down what it is that you aim to do and continue to keep a written journal of your aims and achievements, this seems to be a good way of working for you as you seem to be quite clear and fluent at expressing your ideas in writing.

Good luck and I hope you continue to draw and be creative.

I have very much enjoyed looking at and commenting on your work."

I'm sorry I couldn't post pictures of each of the drawings he commented on but blogger is being funny again. Is it just me or is it at least 1 out of every 4 times that I attempt to upload photos, it just won't let me. Anyway, rant over.

I was greatly encouraged by my tutor's comments and my continuing to draw doesn't even have to be questioned. It is part of my life now and I can't imagine not drawing. That's something doing the course did for me, introduced me to drawing as something that was not esoteric or too hard to do, but a practice that became a part of my life. It's also got me asking lots of questions, and curious to explore, and most importantly, in teaching me about the process and practice of creating, I've learned to let go, allow myself to make mistakes and just enjoy the process and see what comes up. This I will continue to do.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

going to sit in a field for a few days

I'm off to a music festival this weekend, and camping, so hoping for as little rain as possible!

I'll be back in a few's something nice to look at while I'm's one of my favourite paintings by Howard Hodgkin.

Clean Sheets, by Howard Hodgkin (1979-84)
Oil on wood

Sunday, August 06, 2006

inspired by...

Yesterday I went to an exhibition of Howard Hodgkin's work at Tate Britain. He calls himself "a representational painter, but not a painter of appearances. I paint representational pictures of emotional situations."

He also said, "My subject matter is simple and straightforward. It ranges from views through windows, landscapes, even occasionally a still-life, to memories of holidays, encounters with interiors and art collections, other people, other bodies, love affairs, sexual encounters and emotional situations of all kinds, even including eating..."

With paintings entitled things like Downstairs, Waking Up in Naples, In Paris with You, Fisherman's Cove and After Visiting David Hockney, I couldn't help but be inspired by his work. Not only because of the way he uses colour and paints outside of and over frames and on things like chopping boards and door panels, but because of the possibilities they opened me up to. It made me feel free, made me feel like I could paint for myself and not according to a set of rules of what's acceptable and what isn't, which the snobbery of art often puts across to amateurs like me, whether intentionally or not. It's not like I wasn't allowed to paint freely before, especially within the confines of my own four walls, but seeing his work was like someone putting a light on in my head. The difference being that now I feel I can paint about anything I want, or more specifically, it's like a wise teacher saying to me gently, and by the way, did you know you could do things this way?

Here is one of my favourite paintings of his, Downstairs.

Ever since I saw the exhibition I've been itching to get some oil paints and some old wood panels or bits of unwanted fruit cartons or pieces of cardboard and just start painting. Oh if only I could find an old door!

Twenty four hours later, this is what popped into my head. Sketched not on wood but on a 6 x 6 inch page in my sketchbook and painted in watercolour. I've never used oils before, and have yet to acquire some. This will do in the meantime.

you're a mass of contradictions, pencil and watercolour on paper.

This is not exactly how I'd envisioned the painting in my head, but this is what came out after I started drawing. Watercolour was probably not the best medium for this, but it was what I had to hand.

Friday, August 04, 2006

capture for illustration friday

"Look my lovely, what wild and juicy tomatoes I captured for you," he said.
But really, he'd captured her with his wild and tender heart.

black and white for inspire me thursday

My favourite black and white inspiration...the kitty scratches.

tap into it

Getting back to drawing the every day...not trying, just being.