August 25, 2011
Why do artists attend figure drawing sessions all their lives? Because it’s perhaps the most pleasurable drawing experience there is.
I hear it’s because it’s challenging, and good for ‘keeping your eye in’, and an essential skill. But for me, it’s an amazing way to access the present moment. I don’t fidget and wish I was somewhere else, or drift away to another time and place. How wonderful that someone is staying still, without the hinderance of clothes, just so we can draw them.
Drawing is always what I return to. It can settle my busy mind, show me a new way to see, help me understand how things work. As a child I played a game called Countries with my brothers and sisters. There were lots of rules but I mostly remember drawing in the dirt with a stick, reaching out from my body to score a line around myself.
August 6, 2011
The year I moved into this house I spent hours and hours out in the shed making paintings.
Pouring house paint of every description (as long as it was from the mistint shelf or remnants hidden away in sheds) I felt like an alchemist, letting the particular nature of one paint or varnish do it’s thing with another. Water-based, oil, enamel, shellac, bitumen, gritty paving paint, whatever I could find.
The neutrality or lairiness of these would-be discards took me into new colour territory, a challenge I heartily accepted. But usually the bite or the light of my pallette of artist acrylics were called upon to redeem an otherwise dying canvas. It was all so much fun, and often a great mess.
A work space influences the work produced. Upstairs now in my comfortable carpetted heated and cooled studio the work has become more careful, and smaller. The value of this chance to make gentle works on paper and quiet portraits, colour studies and window views has been immeasurable.