The mixed media drawing started in my summer school is finished. It was a work in progress in my Summer School post (see here) and has been worked on regularly since. Just to recap, the work began with rubbings made around the National Art School, using anything that yielded interesting textures, made on tracing paper and light weight drawing paper. These rubbings were then cut into strips, which were threaded into slits cut at regular intervals on a topographic map. The slits follow the lines of longitude and latitude, so are not parallel to the edges. The images on tracing paper were overlaid on the others to create more layers. I then started to draw into the image, pulling the rubbings together with the marks on the map, using Inktense pencils, releasing the colour with a wet brush.
It has required a lot of stopping, looking and thinking, punctuated with bursts of activity. Working on it was quite hypnotic, deciding which lines on the map to take and then how to extend and expand the marks that resulted. The choice of colour had to come from marks within the map and within the rubbings, sometimes echoing the colours, sometimes going to opposites.
The final image is cropped – I like the intensity of a smaller image that bleeds outside the image area.
Visiting an old house in England last year, my daughter and I came upon a wonderful walled kitchen garden, full of heritage plants, fruiting, flowering and looking magnificent. I took masses of photos and have enough material for many drawings and paintings. The first drawing inspired by this garden is of zucchini (courgette) flowers, going over, twisted and crumpled. I did a fairly rough outline drawing across six A5 panels of heavy cold pressed rough paper, then worked into it, first with pen, then pastel pencils as a base topped with Prismacolor pencil. Now comes the conundrum – I have completed one panel, and put colour on all the zucchini flowers in the other panels, leaving the backgrounds white, with the black ink marks. I think I like the unfinished panels better. Alone, each one is an abstract image with characteristics of its own. Put together I feel the image is more mundane. So, do I just carry on and add colour all over each panel, then either still keep them as separate pieces or put them together as a whole, or leave well alone. When the panels are put together in a long line they take on yet another characteristic – unframable of course, but maybe that is irrelevant …
After six months, or more, of not touching oil paints – my time has been absorbed by drawing in various forms – I have immersed myself back in paint, and it has been so enjoyable. But nothing new yet. Some time ago (June 2013) I posted about the nine new small paintings I did in a looser, more unfinished style. These have been on the wall of my studio ever since, and I look at them and think about them. In the end I decided I wasn’t happy with the unfinished nature of them, so decided to take them further. The finished works are still looser than the original works in the series, but now have more depth and richness to them, and I feel satisfied that I have still been true to my intention of loosening up, but have gone beyond the raw, unfinished state they were in before.
I have photographed them arranged in the same way as the first set, so click here to compare.