My first memory of artworking was drawing endless circles in a jotter. My mother was a great letter writer and in order to keep a restless toddler quiet, she would give me a cheap lined notepad in which I would write my own 'letters'; row after endless row of biro'ed noughts. In the end I had a whole book of them. I can still recall how absorbing I found this activity, and looking up from the floor to see mum writing away at the table. I remembered this today, when I attempted my first outdoors sketch for - a long time. I've gotten far too reliant on the digital camera, and have started taking my trusty Moleskine and a few scribbling instruments out on my wanders. Andy and I had a discussion the other day (another walk) about how artists interpret the landscape. Neither of us have done much real life drawing recently, and I was wondering how one gets over the hurdle of not drawing precisely what is in front of you, (which is what one instinctively does) but instead describing your personal experience of the landscape. Anyone who loves the countryside must feel this and each person has a different vision. My beloved Cotswolds. How do I depict the tanglewoods, the gently rolling fields, winding lanes and wide open horizons, without producing a pretty picture postcard? How far do I allow myself to go with mark making, without going too far into fantasy land? I stand in awe before such artists such a Samuel Palmer, Paul Nash and John Minton who were able to bridge this gap with such depth of feeling, capturing the unique and ancient atmosphere of our small island. There is only one way to find out, and that is to stumble in their footsteps. Here I started with what I thought was going to be a bodged sketch, drawing directly with pen - unusual for me - but I stuck at it, and after 10 minutes had come out with what could be the start of something. And I found myself filling in the foreground with - noughts. Coming full circle from my first drawings. A hurdle gotten over.
It's a start...I'm looking forward to finishing the book job I"m in the middle of, so that I can get stuck into doing some big landscape lino cuts. Andy's already ahead of me - woodcut, not lino - and the bedroom yesterday was turned into a print studio...
He's had a bit of artistic angst recently (hence no blog) , but - no pain, no gain, and I think this is the best thing he's done since leaving college. He's got his art mojo back. And about time too. Watch this space to see how the Hare turns out.
'Can you see what it is yet?'