Posts Tagged ‘Charcoal drawings’

Drawn 2013 Open Drawing Exhibition at the RWA

March 21, 2013

Third Nocturne

Third Nocturne, one of my 2012 drawings made in response to listening to music, mostly Chopin’s nocturnes has been selected for the RWA Drawing open.  The exhibition opens in Bristol on Friday and runs through until June 2nd.  After the January blues I  finally got back into the studio and started working on a new group of drawings, Partita 1 – 5 made whilst listening to Brahms cello sonatas and piano trios.  They are now posted on my website with the Quartet drawings which I made last year.  I am introducing underlying grids into these drawing which are creating an interesting counterpoint to the slashing diagonals which are struggling against the vertical lines.  Still unable to resist these verticals which are suggestive of the neck of a stringed instrument.

Partita 4

Partita 4. 2013  Mixed Media on Arches HP 300gm.  76 x 56 cm


RWA Autumn Show, Gerhard Richter and the Degas

October 30, 2011

My drawing Soundscape IV won the Excellence in Drawing Prize at the Royal West of England Academy Autumn Show yesterday which was a very nice surprise.  The exhibition of 508 works, selected from a submission of over 2000, is on at the RWA in Bristol until December 31st.  There seemed to be  more abstract work this year and the hanging of the works seemed more thoughtful. I also heard this week that I have been offered another residency at The Cill Rialaig Project in Kerry for next May so I will be going back to somewhere I really love.

I spent last week in London and managed to get to both the Gerhard Richter at Tate Modern and the Degas at the Royal Academy.  I enjoyed both but definitely want to go back and spend more time at the Richter.  I also want to look again at Tacita Dean’s work Film, the new Unilever series work in the Turbine Hall, without small and tall children running around and waving their arms in front of it to make shadows.  I had forgotten it was half term!

I queued in the rain for forty minutes to see the Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement but the security staff came out with huge RA umbrellas for those people who hadn’t though to bring their own.  Nice touch!  It was wonderful to see some of the paintings of dancers which I had only ever seen in reproduction.  In one room the centrepiece was his renowned Little Dancer aged 14 circled by all the preparatory drawings he did for it, hung at the appropriate position from which he would have drawn  them as he  moved around the model making observations.  A lot was made of Degas’ connection with and use of photography and the moving image with a whole room of Muybridge films some of which I suspect were shown at the recent show at Tate Britain.  However some of the early films of dancers were mesmerising.

Degas Little Dancer aged 14 years

I had been to the Richter the day before and when I first walked in took my glasses off twice to clean them before remembering how destabilising his paintings are!!  But I loved the show, works I hadn’t seen before including a lot of his gray paintings.  The Cage series I had seen before but it was good to revisit them.

Studio shots of chalk and graphite drawings

October 30, 2010

View of the suite of unstable horizon drawings on the studio wall.  Mostly graphite and chalk except for the bottom row which are charcoal.



Paintings, and drawings in graphite and acrylic which were workings from the drawings I did of the spume the first week I was at Ballinglen.  After the first week the spume disappeared and I I started working on other aspects of the environment in which I found myself.


More drawings of Kerry hills

March 25, 2010

More tonal drawings and less line.


Drawing the landscape and the sea

March 22, 2010

I felt a sudden need to actually make seriously observed drawings of the landscape rather than very quick line drawings.  These are quite big and I am not sure where they are going but I am enjoying them.


Charcoal drawing 145 x 125 cms

December 31, 2008
Large charcoal drawing

Large charcoal drawing

I have just finished this, the largest drawing so far in the series, mapping my walks on Ballinskelligs Beach and the journey back up to Bolus Head.


Dusk light and In Praise of Shadows

December 13, 2008




Whilst thinking about the way my work is going, the three drawings above have all been done in the last couple of weeks, I decided to re-read In Praise of Shadows by Junichiro Tanizaki. I had forgotten how lyrical it was. He talks of the patina granted to metal objects through use, a patina which is prized over shininess. He praises the quality that lamplight imparts and the silence and mystery of alcoves which never see the light of day. These thoughts seem appropriate to the qualities of the charcoal surfaces on which I am drawing. The patina on these drawings, rubbed with paper, speak of time, they are very labour intensive, and the pause between light and dark which happens at dusk or just before dawn. These are the qualities of light which I frequently saw at Cill Rialaig and with which I want to suffuse these drawings.


Mapping Space

December 1, 2008




Pushing boundaries and revisiting the Cornish Art Scene

November 25, 2008

New drawings. They are jumping between delicate pencil subtleties and bold dark charcoal drawings. Both are a response to the same journey, between Ballinskelligs Beach and Bolus Head, but are responding to different times of day, different weather conditions, the drama of dark clouds in a threatening storm-tossed sky as opposed to a gentle reverie.




On Friday I went to the launch of the Revolver book at PZAG (Penzance Art gallery). There is some interesting work in this very beautifully produced book which I am already delving into. It was the brainchild of Jesse Leroy Smith and Volke Stox, two artists who seem to be making things happen outside of the box of what is conventionally accepted as ‘Cornish art’.

There was a challenging show at Tate St Ives of work by Austrian artist, Heimo Zobernigan. Installations of eye-searingly coloured fabric, electric blue, red and a green which was literally dazzling. Gold chairs standing in for visitors were juxtaposed with works from the Tate’s collection. In a book about his work alongside the exhibition there was an image of gold chairs alone as an installation which I preferred to their intervention here. Was this an experiment in installation or curation, most of his work is untitled so not much help there, and just as I though I was getting to grips with what it was about the goal posts seemed to move? Zobernigan says of his work:‘With art I would like to raise questions and as a result produce things that put themselves in question.’ There was some great work there which I hadn’t seen before, a Frink bronze of a dead chicken lying on its side, a Picasso Cock and a wire mesh Barbara Hepworth.

At Newlyn Art gallery there were two video installations by Nick Crow and Ian Rawlinson which were spectacular. It is difficult to describe them in a way which shows their impact. The first one, Carriers’ Prayer, was 11 minutes long and started with a low lit shot of a church interior with what looked liked a forest of stakes in the middle ground. The stakes were wrapped in plastic bags so they were uneven and knobbly and not at all beautiful. It was very still then the top of one of the stakes burst into flames followed by another and then another. As they burnt, periodically globules of flame broke off and sparks of light shot upwards. It was accompanied by a sound track of hisses and small bangs as these small explosions were choreographed in this quiet space. Finally when all of the individual little fires went out there was just one left, burnt to the ground which just faded away and went out. It was very beautiful. The second Video was more spectacular in a way. It was the interior of a gallery space in which fireworks were set off. The rockets and bangers ricocheted off the walls and at times the noise was deafening but the lines and dots and streaks of light were very much drawing with light so it was powerful in a different way from the first one. I liked the first one best though.

The link below is to an image of Carriers’ Prayer on the Newlyn Art Gallery site.