After-thought

Actually, I realise that one of the main ideas running through the daily drawings is about recognition, and specifically, how much information you need to see about something in order to recognise it. I was just thinking about that in connection with another love of mine, which is surface, which in turn gets translated into texture. For me there’s a bit of a conundrum here: in paint I seem to work either with lots of ‘surface’, lots of texture, or none at all. When I’m working with none at all it becomes part of the challenge of what I’m doing to depict whatever I’m drawing without resorting to texture to give visual clues about the subject, which is a bit sneaky when sometimes I’m also messing around with scale. In print I work quite differently: texture and surface are and have always been important in the finished image, but I guess I don’t always use them as signifiers of the content.

And there’s another thing that interests me that has only dawned on me through looking at the daily drawings: I realise I’m often interested in what things aren’t as much as what they are, or what they appear to be. Hence a continuing fascination with biological examples of chimerism. This has been of abiding curiosity to me for a number of years and I suppose I’m working away at it in my head, because I can sort of feel that soon it will begin to come out in my work in a way that hasn’t been possible so far. And that’s something I’ve realised, too: I do work with themes that grip me in strange and unexpected ways. For a few years now I’ve been working through a looping twist of river that has surfaced and resurfaced in a number of pieces. Why? I don’t know, except that perhaps it has provided me with a ‘way in’ to the Australian landscape that hasn’t been to do with the painterly ‘problem’ of how a European tries to render the colours of the bush!

So there you go – these little drawings have really been working away at me. I feel a bit silly really. In some ways doing a little drawing every day isn’t much different to taking your sketch book around with you and using it. I do use sketchbooks but they tend to be places in which I work things out: dimensions, ideas, make notes about other artists and their work or make plans for future pieces, rather than being somewhere I draw… I do think that so much of being an artist is about these bizarre and labyrinthine thought processes, about examining yourself and what you do (and not in a narcissistic way) and recognising what you do, or at least, it is for me.

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