It has been six months since my last post, I actually thought it had been longer so that is a good thing. I have been extremely busy making a lot of new work – some of which I will share in this post. The tone of my work is beginning to change very slightly I think? Although aesthetically basically the same I feel it growing and urging the natural change, it feels as if I am making good ground and developing all the time. At this present moment times are good – and have been for some while now.
As is always with things of this nature the creative carrot is always subconsciously being dangled seductively just over the horizon gesturing and beckoning at oneself to follow to exciting new lands and pastures new. The desire of the new – the unknown. I suppose this is partly the attraction to creating things…the excitement, the experience, the immense and overflowing feeling of luck in the fact that this object – be it a drawing, sculpture or painting has entered your life (albeit by your own hand) and forever enriched your life – changing very slightly the course you were on prior to that moment – it’s like a drug…it’s addictive.
Thank you for visiting and reading – if you got this far.
I’m not sure how current my use of a blogging facility is but one thing I do know is – is that anyone that doesn’t should try it. I find it an incredibly powerful tool for introspection – and the remote inspection of my work. I never write whilst in my studio so there is an element of separation that allows a clear mind as it were. The simple act of writing can often cast a helpful light on problems obscuring development, offering next steps and solutions to visual problems.
This powerful effect can come in the form of inadvertently prompting ideas – which probably would of remained in the further recesses of the mind out of sight. Blogging also allows the fine tuning of existing ideas simply by testing what spills out in the contents of the writing.
It is here that I start and I am looking for the obscurity in my field of vision to be lifted in the form of colour combinations, you see I have three drawings ready to be coloured but they are all already at that “precious stage”. This is partly because I have spent a lot of time with them and grown to love what they are becoming, however, each have been made to be coloured and the current “precious stage” needs to be advanced via the risk of colour addition. What I need to work out is the following:
– Do I use different shades of the same colour with accents of contrasting? For instance blues with streaks of different orange shades.
– Equal amounts of contrasting colours?
– Black, white and shades of one other colour could be an idea…
I’m really not sure at the moment but just having written the potential options down has helped to focus things a little. Also another thing I will need to do is test different opacities of inks before making a final call.
Ideally I would like to use my inks in a different way – with more purpose and sense of direction as opposed to blindly seeing what happens and works. This is the real battleground in what I am doing at the moment.
Moving on now to another thought on my mind. How to price work? Now I’m as unknown and obscure as they come but spend many, many working days – usually weeks on a single drawing – clearly a far more expensive way to produce work than say an expressive, gestural drawing that takes an hour – or even a day or two (so the facility of very low prices just will not cut it against the amount of time I spend). With these factors in mind how can I set reasonable prices on something that has taken so long? Any comment on this would be incredibly helpful.
Thank you as always for reading.
So things are progressing rapidly within my work at present. My working habits are on the verge of changing and all feels good in the world right now. A caveat- things in my drawing world usually operate at a glacial speed due to continued breaking of routines and working flows, long working hours and various other commitments, so this brings me up to somewhere near a respectable speed in terms of productivity (relative to the sort of work I do). I’ll take that as a massive step forward. (Please see the above works in progress).
I have recently been stealing hours where before I wasn’t for some unknown reason? You see I am an annoyingly early riser and often spend hours not doing too much before the household wakes up…an obscene waste of time to anyone thinking about it now, but even more so to an artist short on time (what artist isn’t?). Now every Saturday and Sunday morning now I am up early, out of the door and in the studio before anyone has even begun to stir, I usually get a couple of hours intense working time – which has proved amazingly productive. All this in time to get back and resume family duties. Only to often return later in the day for round two. (I always remember reading about Jenny Saville talking about getting the kids to bed and then returning to the studio late at night – I like it and stealing this time works). I’m not sure if it is a psychosomatic feeling of heightened commitment to my work, that it is going well right now or that I just am actually getting more done. Whatever the cause I am very settled and happy in what I am doing and know “it” is working and my time efficiency has been through the roof.
Things I’ve been considering recently:
– The feeling of finding the single path in which to follow as opposed to constantly wondering where to go next…security I guess…in what I am doing and knowing it’s worthwhile – a very important personal point for anyone…you may agree? The thought of deeply exploring a niche that I have formed through genuine application of time, developing ideas and hard work is incredibly exciting and my anticipation for the future is at a fever pitch.
– Pride in the fact that against overwhelmingly massive…no seemingly insurmountable and impossible odds I have doggedly clung onto the dream, the passion and have managed to carve a half decent practice and working ethic out basically on my own, moreover the feeling that what I am doing is bloody valuable – to me at least. This thought sprung to mind whilst taking a very quick break and sitting back in the black chair in the studio a couple of days ago ( I have an ancient black, leather swivel chair on casters that I liberated from an undignified premature ending – it’s perfect) looking around at older work pinned up, working drawings and drawings scrawled with permanent marker as a physical reminder to the mind “don’t forget this successful part of a drawing/ sketch/ note…also don’t forget to USE IT”. The plan chest brimming with work, good and bad, old and new, then my strange habits that have developed over many long hours which have become the ecosystem in terms of ritual within the confines of the studio walls. The space is completely mine, nothing happens without me, no one enters unless invited…I love it.
I apologise for the for the extremely self indulgent nature of this post (even by procrastination standards) but to be fair, this is what helps me work things out, focus, validate ideas and make sense of what is going on in my work, perhaps akin to stretching to remove lactic acid from tired muscles, anyway if this was 30 years ago this stuff would be in a journal and not online for all to see, unfortunately for anyone reading I do not have anything else of more interest to write about…such as lifestyle, flashy cars or the latest celebrity couples.
Thank you as always for reading.
Some interesting developments over the last couple of days, firstly I am now definitely going part time with my current job, I’m only dropping one working day but it is a start, after all canal locks produce big changes slowly.
Disjointedly moving on, a technical point now – which is probably pretty obvious is that I have discovered – via a mixture of curiously, research, and frustration that my technical pens will work absolutely perfectly with diluted inks. This opens up so many new possibilities in terms of colours. Since beginning experimenting with coloured inks and technical pens I have always used white to tint, change and lighten each colour, this is how can I say…limited and lends my work a certain look. Thumbing through books, magazines, surfing work from other artists – new and old I marvel at the colour and effects being achieved, all the while wondering how I can keep my work evolving. Now, with this modest inky development I would like to begin exploring colours in a much wider sense, saturation, luminosity and some pure colours. I have begun to find the use of tinting restrictive and it made me question the limits of technical pens. As you may know I am colour blind so the use of colour can be sketchy ground for me but now an area my work demands.
It’s a nice thought that when I started to use colour it was a revelation, it literally transformed my work and passion for what I do in an instant, at the time I thought I’d taken such a bold step (as I’d always resigned myself to a world of monochrome work) and in a sense it still is the case, I embraced my deficiencies in colour with the simple thought in mind that that it is part of me as much as my ideas or current aesthetic so be courageous and use it – after all it’s my identity and nobody else has it. Essentially this thought distils what an artist is, what an artist has and how an artist works. An expression of identity through a chosen vehicle (but not limited to).
I’m never going to be a gentle colourist or understand/ see colour in the same way that a normally sighted person does – however, this doesn’t mean I cannot make an interesting submission into the very human endeavour of art. It also (for any artists who are lacking in confidence due to colour blindness) doesn’t mean that your use of colour defaults to bad or inferior – just different.
Thank you as always for reading.
Updates coming at:
More, drawing, more studio time – more blogging.
I have interspersed this post with several images of the work I have been doing since my last major post alround a year ago. It is by no means exhaustive but a select few pieces. As you will see I have been experimenting with different ideas and developing new techniques.
Usually I begin to write straight off the bat and let whatever comes out – come out, maybe not a recipe for amazing writing but this method fits nicely into what I want from it – reflecting on what I have been up to and what I have planned, however with this post I have just written/ deleted, written/ deleted, written/ deleted my opening line…so I figure – keep it simple. This is:
Isn’t it an amazing feeling when you have clear ideas and know what you want from them.
To flesh this out a little I am talking in regards to current pieces of work from which a clear direction is present, a clear idea has been developed and basically knowing what is wanted from these pieces. It’s refreshing and (I think) quite exciting. I have always liked the idea of letting a drawing develop and seeing what happens (albeit with a very rough idea of what I’m looking for) and in fact it has always formed an integral part of my process which has also often been very valuable in discovering new ideas.
Above are the two little drawings that has stimulated the pleasing thought I have just been talking about.
I have been having a few random thoughts regarding actual studio practice and I think I have realised just how important it is to have a dedicated space in which to work, for instance I have no distractions whatsoever in my tiny studio such as a tv etc and when I go there I can sink many hours of solid work without batting an eyelid, this would simply not be possible at home in a spare room. I have also developed a studio protocol from which I have never deviated. Different pens, inks, pencils etc are all kept in exactly the same place, my chair is always at the same height, I have the blinds a certain way, completed drawings stored away in groups in a plan chest – others not going anywhere tossed into a separate drawer of there own just in case I ever want to use elements of them again (see below).
I guess what I’m saying is that all of these small points allow me to clear my mind and concentrate on drawing and nothing else – that for a time strapped man like me is super important. I love that.
Thank you as always for reading and I hope you liked some of the work shown in this post.
Oh one other thing – below is a skateboard I was asked to paint, totally loved doing it and may well make some more just for the hell of it.