I started with the word at the top, done with a set of printing letters. Then I covered the whole page with lemon yellow gouache, and drew the faces with the flat end of a crayon. The rest was a mix of gouache and acrylic and crayon. It's strange that it looks simple and childish but it actually felt like hard work when I was doing it. That's an interesting phenomenon to think about sometime...
Many ideas come when I sit down with a piece of paper in front of me, pick up a felt-tip pen or a crayon, and make a first mark. For some reason, the first shape is almost always an oval for a face, and then the rest of the picture sort of spools itself across the page. As I go along, I listen and respond to impulses to use ink and a brush, colour, and various motifs.
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.
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.
I did a series of small pictures of faces, using oil pastel and gouache. The faces just happened - spontaneous creations. As soon as I had done them I had the urge to cut them out and stick them on some kind of background. I started with fine contour lines using a dip pen, and with some of them drew in white Tippex pen over the black ink. I like the way things happen when I decide on a series of simple images and on a number to work with (8 in this case). It's good to set specific boundaries and rules, so that you can be playful and experimental within the context of a project.
Tracking my art projects, week by week.