Edwardian postcards is an ongoing theme with me. I have a box full of them and it is nice to use them for drawing projects. My problem is that the faces are just so poignant, so much of another age, that the responsibility of translating them into a drawing becomes a heavy task for me. So I am always trying to find the mid-point between adoring and respecting these long gone people, and allowing myself to plunge in and not be too tense about doing them justice. I so want to transmit their incredibly emotive eyes and understand the situation they were in - which none of us now has any experience of - sitting for a portrait, unused to their own images, or anyone else's. It was a vastly different time to ours, and perhaps that is why these postcards have a fascination.
I decided to go to a bookshop and buy a book about anthropology. So I found an Oxford publication: 'Social and Cultural Anthropology - A Very Short Introduction' (I really recommend it, easy to read and fascinating). There are a few photographs in the book and I had a thought that I would do some portraits of anthropologists, so here they are. They all look pretty serious and brainy, I think. I intend to pursue my reading in this field, so whenever I run across more anthropologists, I will add them to this portfolio. These are done using brown oil pastel, and various inks.
I made a promise, or a resolution or proposal, last year, that I would like to produce pictures in series, with some kind of theme. So, with this one, it's small gouache paintings that concentrate on the texture of the paint, and the brush strokes. As usual, something happens that you don't expect...at first I am anxious and bored by the process...but then I begin to experience paint in a new way. I like the way the small size of the pictures dictates a new approach. Areas are blocked in in creamy, thick layers of paint. Details are eliminated. The plan for this series is to stick with it until I have done 50.
Working with Images
I painted this on A4 Bristol Board with gouache paints. It took me about 3 hours. The drawing originally appeared in my "free drawing" or "you never know what's going to happen" sketchbook. The sketchbook is A5, and I was using grey and black felt-tip pens.
Be Bold and Plunge In
I worked on mono-prints for a couple of days and found it really exciting. I like working with images, taking them from the original observed sketch through the process of printing. This method was demanding that I push the boundaries of what I am comfortable with, in terms of drawing. "Be bold, make decisions, go for it!" my inner-tutorial voice was saying.
So far, I'm not sure where this project will go. At the moment it's just good drawing practice, but I would like to do something more with the images. There are other visual aspects of the game that appeal to me - the spectators, the light, glimpses of houses through gaps in the stadium, the way players celebrate, and of course, colour.
A friend of mine gave me a square sketchbook, something I don't usually use. So I thought it was just made for studies of faces. These are all done pretty quickly, using oil pastels and Caran d'Ache water soluble crayons.
Tracking my art projects, week by week.