Thursday, 19 April 2012


Typical April showers today, hail, torrents, sunshine and spring chills.

Still it's been productive for me as I've had a whole day to pace myself over my new drawing, which I've temporarily called 'Contrary Motion'. The title's vaguely recalled from a piano tutorial piece - I tried teaching myself keyboard a couple of times and both times ran out of steam or time. Maybe 3rd time lucky some day, who knows?

Anyway here's some detail of my work in progress...

My shoulder and neck, which have been giving me real pain since last October, have been better of late. I don't know if it's the effect of visiting my GP and the GP offering to refer me to hospital for pain management (just the though that someone cares a little often helps with pain, and vica versa, so I find) of if it's the Glucosamine I've been taking (I can't swallow the tabs so I crush the up and hide them amongst my food. My tastebuds find them out though. Oh, they taste horrible!) or whether it's just the milder weather. I'm also doing simple exercises when I remember and or feel the need. I try to take breaks from my drawing, and today my motivation has been a) to hoover and b) to edge a little closer towards clearing the ivy and brambles which have overrun our shed. Hopefully eventually I'll find some way of re-covering the roof. The wind tore the felting off a few years ago and it's a very very sad sight now. Saggy in the middle like a gone wrong cake.

I find that if I parcel what I want to do up into bite sized chunks my energy goes further and I'm not in pain so much.

Anyway, I bit off quite a bit of my drawing today, ably assisted by Radio 4Extra: More Titanic, a history of childhood and Slipstream. Here's how far it's got me.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

A very subtle contrast

I'm close to finishing Rhododendron Frame, which is my provisional title for my latest drawing. As usual I'm pleased with parts of it, and not pleased with others. I like the thundery background and the drama of the blossom contrasted with the slightly contorted branches of the rhododendron, but I guessed I'd have problems with the expanse of dead leaves on the left middle ground. It's pretty bland and it's been a struggle to keep forground from sinking into it or being confused with it. And now, I'm fiddling, of course, in an attempt to regain some of the drama of the contrast between ink and paper which has been lost a little partly because of my greasy hand passing repeatedly over the paper, and partly because of various ineptitudes of execution. I have sped along with this one though begining it the first week in March, so at 6 weeks it's almost sketching speed for me.

I depressed myself thoroughly this week by attempting a brilliant idea I had and instantly failing. So, in order to try to keep my spirits boyant, I've begun another pen and ink drawing on my 'behind bars' theme. I am thinking more and more that I must try and stretch myself, or even revisit other media, but it is simply more convenient for me at the moment, with my time constrained by full-time work, to keep ploughing the same, or developing the same, ground.

I began this one by marking in the barbed wire fence in Payne's Grey Acrylic Ink then working the rest of the drawing in Indian Ink (back to Windsor and Newton for this one). The Payne's Grey doesn't really look much different to the black ink though. A very subtle contrast.

I've been listening a lot to the Titanicfest provided by BBC radio this week. The sinking of that great ship of inequalities, of hope and old fashioned Edwardian decorum still fascinates, as much for all that it embodies of the struggles to come within the next few years, as for morbid fascination. Though morbid fascination is, I admit, pretty potent stuff.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Turning over a new (and another new) leaf

I'm using my new Kandahar Ink for this drawing. I haven't been able to get any of this ink for years now, and I was chuffed when I found some on-line. But it doesn't seem as black as I remember it.

Maybe it's just me.