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I’ve never really had much confidence when it comes to making ‘Art’ and yet somehow I keep on trying.  Most of my drawings never reach a point at which I’m happy for them to go out into the world as ‘proper works of art’.  The number of works that do eventually find their way onto gallery walls represents just a tiny fraction of the amount of work I actually make.  Most of my drawings become abandoned drawings.  Occasionally I rework these drawings and sometimes they seem to come back to life.

This drawing was abandoned a few years ago but I kept it because it seemed to have ‘something’ about it that seemed interesting.  I worked on it again yesterday.  The reason I worked on it was that all my other drawings were coming to nothing and it just seemed to make sense to re-work this old drawing.

There’s a lot I could say about the origins and the thinking behind this drawing but I’m not going to do that here as the drawing might not be finished yet and I’d rather wait until it comes to rest as a settled work of art before I say much more about it.   The person in the picture is my dad.  It’s based on a photograph my dad took of himself in the back garden (in Margate, Isle of Thanet).  Originally it was to be part of a series of drawings.

Hand-made drawings of people are always something more than merely hand-made copies of pre-existing images.  The medium forms part of a drawing’s meaning.  I work in silverpoint on small boards coated in layers of gesso (this drawing is about 14.5x21cm).  This is a medium which brings to the fore qualities to do with trace and presence (metalpoint drawings are formed of the traces of a point of metal drawn across the gesso surface rather like the mark a brass key might make if you were to drag it across an emulsion-painted wall).  The tonal range of silverpoint lines is very slight and pressing the point harder won’t make the line any more emphatic – metalpoint lines have a gentle presence.  This drawing is made up of a fine latticework of lines that are drawn onto and scratched into the surface.  Close up the image disappears into a mesh of lines and scratches.  Silverpoint is an appropriate medium for an art about memory and presence.

This drawing might or might not have come to its end.  I can’t tell.  For the time being it’s going back in the drawer.

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