It may seem strange to be writing a post about late summer when we in the southern hemisphere are heading towards the beginning of summer, but the ideas inspired by seasons are continuing, as you will see if you look at the last few posts I have done.
This drawing is inspired by an agapanthus head which is at that late summer withering-up stage, the flowers gone over and the strong blue faded. This is the stage I find so entrancing with plants – the shapes that develop as the life ebbs away, they twist and turn and take on new forms.
The initial drawing was done with watered-down liquid pencil, with a brush, just loosely mapping in the basic shapes. Then I drew into the forms with pencil, intensifying detail and tone. A little colour was added with Prismacolour pencils. The support is Yupo, a strange, plasticised surface, which allows the watery liquid pencil to pool and crystallise where it is put on more thickly, as it cannot be absorbed into the surface. The coloured pencil slides on the surface, meaning it is impossible to add intense colour.
The drawing is larger than life at 43 cm wide and 29 cm deep. It may be finished, I’m not sure. Really, I like the details best – maybe I will use these as inspiration for further drawings. Following are three detail images.
The collection of small square paintings continues to grow, so with an art society exhibition coming up and works needed, it seemed like a good idea to start grouping them. In the past I have framed them in groups of four, five and seven, but this time three seemed to work. They have been painted at various times, some as much as four years ago, others in the last few months, but natural groupings suggested themselves. The consistent limited palette of colours helps the works to come together nicely.
Probably because the idea of seasons changing was already in my mind (see End of the Season here) the titles of Spring for the top one and Summer for the lower one came to mind. I have already grouped two more sets to make autumn and winter. They may be framed in black rather than white – a decision to be made later.
They are painted in oil on canvas, each painting is 10 cm x 10 cm.
Is this a book or a paper sculpture? When I was making it, I was thinking of it as a book, and there is a story to be found for anyone who looks, which is where the title comes from, but it is certainly not a book in the conventional sense.
It started life as a drawing. The paper was prepared with a random loose watercolour wash in a sepia or tan colour then blots of liquid pencil added. Scrunched plastic wrap was pressed on top then weighted for a day or so. Once it was dry I started to draw into it, using a fine pen with water based ink. Some of the lines were forced to bleed with a wet paintbrush, and then red ink was brought in. As so often happens with my work, it was then set aside while I decided what happened next. Eventually cutting up and folding seemed the best way to make use of the imagery, and as a result of binding the pieces together with multicoloured cord it turned into a star shape. The final touch was the plaited strap so that it can be hung up to gently turn in any passing breeze. It is a miniature, measuring 10 cm across and 5 cm high.
Below is first the complete drawing, on A3 paper (the cutting lines are marked, as I forgot to photograph it before I drew them in) then there are two details.
And finally, swinging in the breeze!