Thursday, 31 December 2009


I'm putting my drawing aside for now. I think it's finished, though this decision is often the most difficult one to make. Starting a new piece is often fretful, I'm addled by choice and fearful that I've made the wrong decision, from then on, if the decision was right, there are ups and downs, sometimes a horrible feeling of panic grips my throat and either makes it difficult for me to keep still (I'm up and down like a Yoyo, fetching a can of pop from the fridge, feasting on my fingernails), or else I freeze and can only sit looking at what I've done. A radio feature becomes so fascinating that I have to turn it up and give it my whole attention, though of course, my eyes are drawn back to the sticky surface of my drawing.

All that's over for this piece, I think. I've decided to leave the white areas of the foreground tree and the two trees at the extreme left and right of the composition white, for a breathing space, compositional silence.

Someone once told me when I was a student that it can be wise to juxtapose a detailed or highly defined area of work with an area that is more loosely worked. In those days my work tended to be abstract or abstracted, but I'm begining to realise how valuable this piece of advice was and how I should bear it in mind when bringing a piece of figurative work to a conclusion.

I'm going to indulge myself now in a Quorn sandwich (garnished with pickled cabbage with a side order of mixed pickles - a feast as welded to Christmas for me as Santa Claus and Handel).


...and a blot on the landscape...

Finally, I wish whoever reads my final blog posting for 2009 a very HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009


I'm working hard trying to finish a drawing I began about 4 weeks ago, pretty much straight after finishing 'Running Away', which I posted in an earlier blog. I've got an aim in mind, but I don't know whether anything will come of it yet. 2009 has been a mixed bag for me, of changes of direction, surprise successes and disappointments. The disappointments, of course, leave the longest taste. At least for someone with my 'glass half empty' frame of mind.

I'm really pleased with my daylight lamp though, it's allowed me to work pretty intensely through this dark and dreary December day, the sunlight has hardly managed to pierce the raindrops and the grey clouds at all. My eyes have been surprisingly resilient these past couple of days, I've found my nose almost resting on the page again as I get drawn into my drawing, something that doesn't happen so often these days. Not through lack of concentration (though concentration is sometimes a problem) but because of my changing eyesight. It's odd though, it doesn't seem to just get worse, but some days it's better again. I don't know why that should be. But on the good days, I'm not going to complain.

Anyway, here's a picture of the chaotic little corner of what used to be my brother's bedroom, it's where I've been working this morning and even with the heating on it's so cold that I’ve had to pad myself up with sweater, chunky cardigan and body warmer. Our house is such a cold place in the winter.

I think this drawing is the most intensely worked piece I've ever done, I find myself falling into a fugue state while working on it, one day I think I might just disappear into one of my drawings. That should be a very interesting journey.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Running Out of Time

This is probably going to be as far as I'm going to get with this drawing for 2009. I worked myself up into a total Tizz these past few days struggling to get this piece finished for a deadline, get this - for TOMMOROW!! I even contemplated staying up all night to finish it, until I realised that time is one important ingredient in my drawings - as essential as dip pen nibs and ink. My drawings are as much about my own relationship with time, and my often painful scrutinising of the insubstantiality of the passing moment, and it's taken a day of shredded nerves and almost total ruination of a drawing in progress to realise this.

I've always been one of those people who habitually contemplates the impossible - how to grasp the concept of time, to grasp the moment. Which of course is fatal. The moment is not there to be grasped, only to be passed through like the dappled shadow and sunlight of a forest path. Sensational yet insubstantial.

I've always been one of those people who can guess the time without having to look at their watch. Something in me is aware of time passing, and yet at the same time, is totally bewildered by it. The human condition, I suppose.

Anyway, letting go of this particular deadline (for this drawing at least) is necessary for my sanity. I will deliver something tomorrow, but it won't be this drawing. It's hard to accept that I haven't made my own self-imposed deadline, I hate letting myself down this way, but it's necessary.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Lighten up

I've had a new daylight table lamp for my artwork, it was a bit pricey even at half price & amazingly heavy, luckily G helped out with carrying it to the car, I also have him to thank for driving me out to Hobbycraft to make my purchase, ordering on-line was just not immediate enough for me.

I worked with it virtually all yesterday as there was so little natural light, as I get older I find my eyes become tired in dim light, I'm not actually at the point where I need glasses to see close to yet (I'm short sighted so I'm dreading that extra complication), but my eyes are greedier for light than ever these days.

Another purchase I made this month that I'm very pleased with is an iPAQ Pocket PC. I bought my first handheld pc (A Palm) back in about 2000, and I loved it. Being able to scribble my notes anywhere and download them to my PC was great for someone with an overactive brain like myself, I also loved the idea that I could read the freebie out of copyright novels published by sites such as Project Guttenberg on such a tiny device. In 2004 I bought myself an iPAQ Pocket PC which was even better as the transfer of documents from handheld to PC was even simpler with the pocket version of Microsoft Word. Also, I could read fiction, poetry and even illustrated books on my device (and PC) using the free Microsoft e-Reader. A couple of years later I sold my beloved Pocket PC and the infra-red keyboard I'd bought for it for a few quid as I was in desperate financial straits. I regretted it over the years and so a few weeks ago, unable to afford one of the all singing dancing new models, I bought a model similar to my old one on Ebay.

Wonderful value, wonderful service (I had my new-old Pocket PC within days). Me and it haven't been separated since!

A lot of things have changed since I sold my old one, Avantgo, where I used to download freebie reads, has gone, and Microsoft seem to have frozen development of their e-reader, though it's still available to download and you can still get great freebie out of copyright reads from the likes of the University of Virginia's Digital library.

Also, with a little net mooching you can still find loads of games to download, some freebies, and many for just a few pounds. Not having the cash to treat myself to a Pocket DS (or a child to borrow one off!) these freebie games are a great cheap alternative. They're simple, pretty and quite addictive.