Tag Archives: painting

After Another Hiatus- The Subsidiary Nature of Drawing

Tent:morgay

Camping at Upper Morgay, Various pencils, ink & w’colour on paper, 21x16cm

When I’m away I never stop drawing; perhaps I’m just keen to remind myself of my own existence.

However, I always consider that the real stuff takes place in the workshop. I’ve obviously now given the lie to my pretence that drawing is some kind of pure, primal activity. What I mean is that it’s good to be back to working for a purpose; that purpose being producing paintings, of course. Implicit in that “purpose” is that painting has a higher status than drawing, which in a way it has: paintings are more hard-wearing, more complex.

Getting going in the workshop has been like pulling teeth, so, rather than mither on about that, I’m going to lay out some of the process.       I know I’ve done something similar before but then I seemed to be working with some kind of direction. In this case I feel I’ve been hacking a trail.

glassfeather1

1st Feather in Glass Drawing, Ink & wash on paper, 18x16cm

Glassfeather2

2nd Feather in Glass Drawing, Ink & gouache on paper, 18x16cm

Glassfeather

3rd Feather in Glass Drawing, Ink, pencil & gouache on paper, 18x16cm

Glassfeather4

4th Feather in Glass Drawing, Ink & wash on paper, 17.5x11cm

Glassfeather5

Tiny Feather in Glass Painting, Oil paint on card, 11x10cm

Glassfeather6

Bigger Feather in Glass Drawing, Pencil on paper, 26.5x24cm

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Feather in Glass 1, Oil paint on board, 24×22.5cm

Glassfeather7

Feather in Glass 2, Oil paint on panel, 33x30cm

It’s useful laying these out. It makes me aware that the more a painting develops (and mine tend to develop through the process of repetitive drawing rather than layering, as if all the layers are left visible at the finish) the more it becomes independent from its source. Whereas the drawings delineate and refer only to their subject, paintings offer much more. All paintings refer not just to the immediate but to every other painting and to the strange state between object and image. They give  something of emotion and otherness. Perhaps all that is, after all, is pleasure.

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Drawing towards Painting

`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.

Snails1

1.Drawing, pencil on paper, 21x16cm

Snails2

2.Drawing, ink on paper, 24x22cm

Snails3

3.Snail Shells & Lenses, watercolour on paper, 21×18.5cm

Snails4

4.Snail Shells & Lenses, watercolour, 23×20

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5.Snail Shells & Lenses, watercolour on paper, 23x20cm

Snails5a

6.Snail Shells & Lenses, oil paint on card, 22x20cm

Snails6

7.Snail Shells & Lenses, oil paint on panel, 35x31cm

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Filed under Art, Drawing