Posts Tagged ‘lines’

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


Mondrian || Nicholson at The Courtauld Gallery

March 9, 2012

Parallel is obviously the latest in word.  I used it for my exhibition Parallel Lines of Enquiry and it is in the title of the wonderful new exhibition at the Courtauld Gallery in London which I went to see last week.  Paintings by these two great artists are set side by side throughout two rooms allowing people to see the connections between the works and also see the clear differences.  The stark simplicity of Mondrian’s lines and primary colours alongside the softer more modulated palette of the Englishman.

Wandering into a further room after looking at the Mondrian || Nicholson I found a small show of wonderful drawings all related to the grid.  There  was a contemporary drawing of a grid   displayed next to drawings where the grid was a connecting idea.   A drawing by Graham Sutherland squared up ready to be transferred to canvas, a garden design by James Thornhill who designed the Thornhill Mural at Sherborne House in Dorset and a whole page of wonderful little dancing animals.

I then had a good wander around the whole gallery which has such treasures from Medieval to Renaissance to Impressionists and beyond.

The Review of Accumulation at ParisCONCRET is now live on isendyouthis.  Click the link in the side bar.

More sketchbook drawings, dancing from page to page…

December 18, 2011

I love working in my sketchbooks.  No pressure I just hop, slide, move, dance from one page onto the next, following my train of thought. Making drawings from observation, rubbing them out drawing over them, playing with ideas. Thinking I’ll try that or I wonder what would happen if. It is the best way of visual thinking.  The excitement, waiting to see what things will look like, knowing  it doesn’t matter if it works or not because it is about finding out, opening doors not closing them.   Taken from one of my Ballycastle sketchbooks which is full of drawings of Main Street, this little group of drawings started with a  sketch of a derelict notice board, plywood streaked with rain-water stains.  They then started absorbing the narrative of  earlier drawings of the horizon and the cracks in the pavement of the same street..


Sketchbook drawings from Ireland

December 4, 2011

Spent a couple of days scanning in pages from some of my Balinglen Sketchbooks to send to someone.  A boring chore but actually it was lovely to look again at those images and remember the when the where the light the weather and the things I had forgotten about. Realised there are some many ideas here that I want to take further.

Polynesian navigation

March 2, 2011

The Polynesians used the horizon and the stars as navigational tools, making boats with rungs through which they could view the constellations and horizon to find their way.  My unstable horizons are tipping up and I couldn’t resist the connection with these ancient methods of finding a route from one island to another.


Navigation 1 of 7  oil charcoal and graphite on canvas




Polynesian navigation device showing directions of winds, waves and islands, c. 1904

Image copyright Wikipedia

History of a pavement

November 29, 2010

Hundreds of thousands of people walk on pavements everywhere, every day, each leaving a little bit of their story behind. Mud, dust, wet footprints, a hair, a button, cigarette ends, sweet papers. As the pavements deteriorate and crack little bits of these multiple histories silt up the cracks leaving a residue of people, whose presence there was fleeting, or who have long ago died or moved away. If pavements could tell their stories…..the daily repetition – trudging to work, pushchairs, pub fights, dogs, rain, ice… The Cracks in the Pavement drawings open up their own stories, following the, lines covering them up, reinventing them. These are my little bits of history from Ballycastle in Co. Mayo.



History of a pavement

oil, charcoal and graphite on canvas, 80 x 80 cms

Cracks in the Pavement – sequence of 12 drawings.  pencil on paper, 21 x 21 cms

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.

Straight lines curved lines horizontal lines even vertical lines

October 15, 2010


It was bound to happen all this obsessing with the horizon and I have duly finished two paintings, at least drawings in graphite on paint on canvas, but at least my lines are attempting to subvert the horizontal.

After a week of running around I finally spent the whole day in the studio on Thursday and got some interesting work done.  Two big drawings and two smaller ones, on Arches Hot press with ruled lines in various weights of pencil, which as they went seesawing down the paper created a curve of unstable horizon.  Not quite where I want to be with this yet, need a darker tone somewhere, but getting there, and I am a little uncomfortable with the geometry.


On Tuesday I went to Achill Island.  I thought I would never get there it seemed to take forever and on the journey there I found the landscape disappointing.  Very flat in places, just endless bog really, auburn ferns and dark pine forests. Then I started to see mountains in the distance and gradually I entered Mountain country. They were semi-circles of hills with close-cropped red sides, sheep everywhere wandering on and off the road mostly the wrong side of the wire that was supposed to contain them. The landscape started to change, more trees and to my right water, but lake not sea. The trees, as if sculpted by the elements were flat topped and bent double like some ancient whose spine long ago gave up trying to support its body.  The surface of the road bent so the car moved more like a small boat on a choppy sea than wheels rolling on tarmac. Finally I crossed the bridge at Achill Sound which leads onto the Island and took the Atlantic route around the bottom right of the Island.  As I climbed the scenery became more and more spectacular.  There was a low mist masking the base of the hills across the water so that they looked as if they were floating, disembodied, above the surface of the sea.  The road now dropped away in slopping grassy mounds away down towards the cliffs below making me very conscious that one missed bend would send me hurtling over the edge.  The road was often only one car wide, so nowhere to go.  At what seemed the top I stayed a while and did some drawing, it was so warm and beautiful that I was tempted to contemplate the concept of nature and the sublime!  But also to ask myself if beauty is suspect?  I wondered what other people had stood there and surveyed this deceptively calm and safe landscape.  Undoubtedly many tourists but many others; fishermen, tenant farmers, who do not look at it for its beauty primarily but for the information it offers them.  Coming down I negotiated a couple of very tight hairpin bends where  the camber of the road was all askew.  I stopped at a beach which was clean and the water crystal clear, so that  Gigi could .have a run.  I had already taken her up into the scrubby cliffs at the top, which she loved, no doubt smelling game and hooded crows, which were everywhere.


Notes from my sketchbook

Subverting the line

September 6, 2008

I am still working on painting number three (see Drawing into painting post for the two finished ones) and I like the way the drawing part has centralised into a sort of rolling horizon, rather like the first of the large drawings below. The lines feel as if they are tumbling over one another. I have also been developing the Cill Rialaig Wall sketches and combining them with memories of the walks that I did up to Bolus Head.

The painting is leading me further into investigating just the line which cuts across the centre of the space on a sheet of white paper. I like the idea of constantly subverting that line so that it is always moving, always fluid, a bit like the surface of the sea. The line is pulled and stretched constantly diverted from its apparent aim of slicing the space precisely into two halves.

Cill Rialaig Walk

Sketchbook drawings