Sunday 10 January 2016

Re-booting the Blog

Hi there!
Gosh, it's a long time since I did a blogpost. A sure sign of life getting in the way of art. Been busy painting walls and doing DIY in order to get the Musselburgh flat up for sale (sadly!). But I think the hard work is done now so I'm trying to get back into work.

We're back up north for a brief week before we're tied to Musselburgh for viewings. My discipline of a sketch a day is working, getting me back into a work habit. And it's New Year: an appropriate time to take stock and re-focus.

Did a few charcoal/pencil sketches at Fisherrow - mostly boats! Good to get the drawing going, helping me to think about composition.

I also feel both energised and challenged by my recent trip to London when I went to exhibitions of work by Lanyon and Auerbach. I'm definitely in the Peter Lanyon camp on the importance of observation to inform my drawing and painting - there's a great quote of his which I can't lay my hands on at the moment - and I think both artists worked hard at expressing their feelings for places (and in Auerbach's case, also people) through their work. I did particularly love Auerbach's charcoal portraits. I suppose this type of work is 'experiential observation'. So...I think this gives me a signpost...I observe and draw quite well but I need to work at the emotional side in order to enrich the drawing/painting. I suppose that even in coming to this conclusion I have developed a bit! And I know that I must 'practice' to improve my technique and the quality of my painting and printmaking.

So far in January I'm continuing to focus on sketching to renew my interest in subject matter and draw myself back into work. Also I do find that the longer I am away from practice the worse the critical nagging voices get - the ones that say 'why are you bothering to do this?' (like Oor Wullie's devil on his shoulder). However, even through doing this Blog I am trying to counteract the nagging voices - there is something worthwhile for me to do; there's a challenge for me and there are ideas to explore.

My one-time tutor, Matt Storenstien, once advised me to go back to doing a few simple watercolours in order to get my head together. So this month I see it important to 're-boot', to go back to first principles and rebuild. I'm trying to sketch as much as possible. Here are a few from the last couple of days.
Across Loch Carron (Sketch)

Slumbay View (Sketch)

Sgorr Ruadh and Fuar Toll (Sketch)

And now I'm thinking about a little colour but with restraint. Using acrylic inks to supplement the graphite. I quite like this approach - I feel it's appropriate for this time of year.
Across Loch Carron (Study)

Sgorr Ruadh and Fuar Toll (Study)
I'm aiming for that zone where the painting is easier and things flow better, when you find unexpected good things in the paintings you make. Wish me luck this year....