Posts Tagged ‘charcoal’

Interrogating and simplicity

March 31, 2013

Stone and tree copy

I have a love hate relationship with the word interrogate.  Actually its mostly hate! Considered a more rigorous term than merely questioning it has become the  art speak term of choice for investigating something, often giving woolly ideas a veneer of intellectual seriousness which they do not  merit. Every second artist seems to be interrogating something!  My distrust, dislike of the term goes back a long way.  As an eleven year old, in a school French exam I was confronted with the instruction,”convert the following sentences into the interrogative”.  I was good at French easily capable of getting full marks for this but along with the rest of my class I got zero for that question because not one of us knew what interrogative meant.  It clearly still rankles!  I think art speak risks equating simple language  with simplistic ideas.  So, rant over,  simplicity is where I am heading.

I met up with my friend Jem this week for a drawing day. We have been doing this in a desultory way for a year or more but have now set ourselves a goal:  to produce five pieces of work in just over a year.  Although music is a common interest we are beginning  to look at architecture and think about space and the simplicity of structures like cloisters.  Sharing a variety of music throughout the day from Bach’s Cello Suites to Karl Jenkins The Armed Man, Mass for Peace to the opening bars of James Macmillan’s Tuireadh, his lament for the Piper Alpha disaster we settled down to draw. I am currently revisiting the compositions of Piero della Francesca and Fra Angelico and in our conversations we touched on the classical influences  on Brunelleschi in the Ospedale degli Innocenti in Florence. I suspect that with these ideas fresh in my mind, having earlier observed a rhythm of light falling on angles of stone walls balanced by a riot of bare tree branches, I started my first drawing for this new project. Stone and Tree. I have no idea where it will go from here.

Running in tandem with these regular drawing days I am about to start work on a new personal project in response to Bach’s cello music and I have just bought a large format sketchbook, 30 x 42 centimetres and a book of manuscript paper. So to work…..


Horizons Sketchbook – Shortlisted for the Sketch Drawing Prize

March 27, 2011

My Horizons Sketchbook containing 55 double-page spread drawings of the changeable, mesmerising view of the sea in Ballycastle, Co. Mayo has been shortlisted for the Sketch Drawing Prize at Rabley Drawing Centre.

During my Fellowship at the Ballinglen Arts Foundation in September/October, 2010, my house faced the sea and every day I drew the rapidly changing vista from my window; the light, the weather, and the mountains appearing and disappearing like ghosts. The exhibition, Sketch National Drawing Prize 2011 which contains 40 sketchbooks by 38 shortlisted artists from all over the UK, will open on 9 April through 28 May and then tour nationally for a year.  Looking at some of the other artists who have been selected I think it will be a fascinating exhibition and I am very honoured to be part of it.  It was selected by Deanna Petherbridge, artist and author of ‘The Primacy of Drawing’, Meryl Ainsley, Director of Rabley Drawing Centre and artist Sandie Sykes.

Charcoal drawings of unstable horizons

November 2, 2010

These are the last drawings I did before I left the Ballinglen Arts Foundation and are charcoal on paper.  Now back in my studio in the UK I am free to use paint again since I don’t have to take the drying time into consideration.

Sketchbook Studies from Bolus Head and Inny Strand

April 6, 2010

On a gloriously sunny day I climbed to the top of Bolus Head.  It was so clear I could see all the way to the Blasket Islands and the Skelligs were defiantly standing guard over the Peninsular.  It took nearly two hours to get up there and included climbing over gates, barbed wire fences and stone walls despite the fact that it is a signposted walk.  But the view was amazing, again, and I sat there for most of the day drawing having, on this occasion, gone well-prepared with smoked salmon soda bread sandwiches, grapes and a bottle of water.  Bliss.   The following day I went back to Inny Strand which I had been promising to do ever since I arrived.  Miles and miles of empty sand stretching away towards a gently rippling sea and the hills, hazy in the distance.