Building on representing humanity’s insistence on juxtaposing a grid onto the organic natural landscape, I’ve been in the print room experimenting with some lino cuts. The fact that the subject of the work lies purely in the shape not the tone meant that a two tone lino cut is perfect for displaying that in isolation. Also, since lino tiles lend themselves very well to geometric, straight, simple shapes, it translates very well into this medium.
A3, graphite, chalk, oil pastel
Mixed media portrait of David Bowie, playing Nikola Tesla in the film “The Prestige”. RIP
I’m posting both the first stage (gestural, constructive style of drawing landscape), and the final stage with the chaotic “characters” included. (thanks to Julie Mehretu for that term, fits rather well)
I drew the landscape using chalk and graphite, to start from a mid-tone. Starting from a mid-tone means that I can apply both light and dark immediately. I’m trying to push a constructive, angular style. Afterwards I used a white pencil to create a fluidity in the water, which does not exist in the rest of the landscape.
After that I drew a an irregular grid (devised using dice rolls in a new way to how I’ve previously done it, implies more of a chaotic nature), and used a far more complicated system to create the geometric characters.
- fill in with graphite
- leave completely
- shape 1 graphite
- shape 2 graphite
- shape 3 graphite
- shape 4 graphite
- shape 5 graphite
- shape 1 eraser
- shape 2 eraser
- shape 3 eraser
- shape 4 eraser
- shape 5 eraser
I rolled a 12 sided dice this time, creating a much larger array of marks, and a much more irregular composition. The materials I’m using work very well for the marks I’m making, and the large amount of options means that compound shapes appear by chance. These interactions are born from chaos, so represent chance encounters in nature, like a lightning strike on a specific tree or wind and water erosion in a specific shape.
A sketch of a photo I took whilst walking up the hill in Glenmore, Scotland. Took about 1.5 hours, using chalk, graphite, and oil pastel. I was really concentrating on the light, and the way it falls on the natural shapes of the hills and water. I realised during the drawing that the way the water flowed over the bed when photographed and frozen in time, was very similar to how the grassy verges looked – sweeping and curling shapes dipping in amongst each other, both solid and liquid.
I was re-watching Landscape Artist of the Year whilst I was doing it, it’s a good source of inspiration. I’ve departed somewhat from landscapes, despite my affinity for it. I’m always finding myself going back to it when I decide to “do art”. When I’m freed of a motive, and simply choose to “do”, I choose landscape, save for practising portraits. I think this says quite a bit about how I’m wired.
My last day full day in Aviemore, and we decided to all go up to the local reindeer sanctuary, responsible for the upkeep of the only wild herd of reindeer in the UK. They were fenced in to a 1000-acre area across hills and moors, and if you’re lucky (which we were), you’d be able to find and feed them, and take some incredible photos.
I didn’t think that the sanctuary would be set in quite that much of a picturesque area, and I was only really expecting to take photos of the animals themselves. However the area, as you can see, was almost too beautiful to be real. It’s like one of the worlds you walk through in a dream or a vision of utopia from a film. This was a great end to the holiday, and at the train station I really didn’t want to go back. I’m sitting here in Bromley looking out and wondering why I can’t see mountains. Mountains make everything better.
However, I have heaps of drawing and painting material from this holiday and I will be posting these very shortly, keep watch!
Digital version of this I did a while back, using a similar but slightly more complicated system. I wanted to create pieces quickly so I could get an idea what kind of range of results my system could generate.
It seems there’s a very wide range of possibilities, as all of these pieces were created using the exact same process based off dice rolls and coin flips.
I still prefer using chance as a basis and then working into it, but I think these work well in a series to demonstrate an individuality, and a unique identity in each piece, despite being born from identical processes.
20 minute piece as the final drawing of a life drawing session. This was the only one I was happy with, life drawing can be pretty hit and miss in terms of likeness but I think this worked well, even despite the foreshortening.
In retrospect I should’ve added some sort of context to ground the figure, because without context the foreshortening doesn’t really have a reference point. I have to flip a mental switch to stop myself thinking it’s a really short dumpy woman. But I’m enjoying life drawing, its really helpful.