From sketchbook to new drawing via lace and Francis Bacon!

I started the week with a visit to an exhibition of exquisite drawings of lace by Teresa Whitfield which was at the Thelma Hulbert Gallery in Honiton. (Now finished.) Drawn on buff paper in white ink these labour intensive pieces replicate the tortuous process of making lace itself. They call to mind the line drawings of the artist David Connearn in the intensity of the process, although these are minute observations of actual pieces of lace, one of which, from the V & A, accompanied the show. Thread thin lines intersect each other even recording tiny defects in the fabric and the way the the threads interweave. Her work is at

On Friday I went up to London  to see the Francis Bacon Show, more of that later. I had a three hour train journey in which to read or sleep or draw and I was in the mood to draw. Late Autumn is a great time to draw the structure of trees and there were loads flashing past the windows. I got very excited about them much I think to the amusement of a Polish family opposite me. However I did start to realise that I had found a way of doing another big tree drawing following on from Once Upon a Time  2005, which is on my website. I think I now have the bones of an idea for a forest of little trees.

Francis Bacon at Tate Britain was a revelation. I have only really seen the work which is in the Tate Collection before and seeing all this work together really made sense of the way his ideas developed. There is a feeling of being not exactly overwhelmed, but certainly very conscious, of the scale of the work especially the Triptychs. I loved the Man in Blue with the figure emerging from the darkest of blue stained canvas. The way that his figures merge in and out of the paint made me think of Louis Le Brocquy’s Heads. I was also conscious for the first time of the extent to which Bacon sites his figures within the structure of an interior space or constrains them by a piece of furniture. I came away thinking that he was a really great painter and that experience of  seeing really wonderful art, always makes me want to rush back to the studio and get to work. Which is what I did and now I have a whole week set aside to work on some new drawings from sketchbook studies that I have been doing. Some of which I have already used to make into the first of what I hope will be a whole new set of drawings about the route from Ballinskelligs Beach up to Bolus Head.

Drawing CRW 1


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3 Responses to “From sketchbook to new drawing via lace and Francis Bacon!”

  1. leavesandacorns Says:

    Maybe you would like to check out my blog?

  2. bobbywashere Says:

    Really like how you have captured the autumn trees on your train journey, Always good to see fellow artist and how they capture the world.

    Not seen the Francis Bacon exhibit but I like some of his self portrait paintings. I believe it was very rare for him to sketch is work in advance.

    Like you say though I like to see other artist plans, drawings, studies, allot can be learnt from this initial thought and observation process.


  3. fiona Says:

    Hi Bobby
    Thank you for your comment. You are right Francis Bacon very rarely did preparatory studies and in fact prided himself on working directly onto the canvas. But however there were a few very rare small studies, very sketchy in thin paint, which it was very interesting to see.

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