`Begin at the beginning,’ the King said gravely, `and go on till you come to the end: then stop.’
I still have the feeling that drawing is subordinate to painting, a precursor, a preparation. A tutor at college, when confronted with dozens of my preparatory drawings, said something like “are they like training exercises for the 100 metre dash of painting?”.
A few years later I had a conversation/ argument with a (sort of) eminent painter (me and eminence don’t rub up together that often, it raising feelings somewhere between that of fear and boredom). He insisted that the activities of drawing and painting were essentially the same whereas I thought that there is a difference of intention and execution between the two. I still think that. A painting is a container of a rich mix of emotion and context; in some mysterious way connected to all other paintings. Whereas a drawing is connected only to the perceived world for a finite period, an investigation of how we are placed in relation to its objects.
I can’t talk for anyone else so here’s a recent (incomplete) series of drawings and one painting. It is part of an ongoing group of studies and paintings that never gets to an end but has frequent pauses. All I can say is that the painting, however slight or quickly executed, relies on the density of information gained through the drawings.
Is this a stupid way to work? It’s the only one that gives me satisfying results and I have a suspicion many other painters go through an equally tortuous, if not similar process.
1.Drawing, pencil on paper, 21x16cm
2.Drawing, ink on paper, 24x22cm
3.Snail Shells & Lenses, watercolour on paper, 21×18.5cm
4.Snail Shells & Lenses, watercolour, 23×20
5.Snail Shells & Lenses, watercolour on paper, 23x20cm
6.Snail Shells & Lenses, oil paint on card, 22x20cm
7.Snail Shells & Lenses, oil paint on panel, 35x31cm