08 October 2014

Tuesday is drawing day

The actual drawing got off to a slow start because of having to find the pens and papers. I wanted to dabble in pen-and-ink, and knew where the inks were (but didn't realise I had quite so many bottles of Quink - can one ever have enough Quink on hand??) and also rather a lot of oriental ink -
Chinese ink and, on the right, Japanese ink
While searching for a dip pen seen "somewhere" recently, and the rolls of rice paper, I somehow got sucked into the Dark Corner ... that place where Things With No Home accumulate. A big box containing folders and rolls of old drawings and new paper has been sorted, the rolls of paper identified and labelled and stored - and the rest disposed of - that took two hours. (The dip pen turned up in the process, as things tend to do when you're searching for something else.) The Dark Corner is much improved - no "before" photo exists but you can just about imagine it from the "after" pic -
Full frontal ironing board, far too much white fabric, and some other shocking things
I found it hard to start the drawing - aiming to spend three hours doing it - even though I had a sort of plan - try out papers, try out inks, try out pens - and a theme of sorts, street grids, with their different densities and angularities. I was hoping that the blobs of ink would soak through the layers of paper in an interesting way, adding to the next drawing in the sequence.

But things have a way of sabotaging themselves. First up, some crumpled glassine (found in the big box), which I crumpled further to see if the cracks would draw up the ink. Short answer: not really. But this would be worth trying on other types of paper, with a more organic subject. In the process, I tried holding the (bamboo) pen in different ways, and tried to remember to draw from the shoulder, not with the fingers. 

The need to dip the pen at intervals gave scope for different rhythms of making marks and for different densities of stroke. After a while the random marks started to take on an overall shape. I see it (on the left) as a skunk-like creature, lifting its tail to let rip -
Ink doesn't soak through glassine, even through cracks and crumples. Centre: rice paper; the blobs are the starting points of each stroke. When the black ink in the mussel shell into which the ink had been decanted was empty, I changed to sepia, aiming to "sculpt" what is essentially a doodle.

The paper underneath was smooth(er) glassine, and the ink had seeped through, This one does use the grid format, elaborated into a combination of field patterns and glimpses into interiors
and it also recalls the patterns of battens holding tar paper onto buildings, like this building in the back streets of Mayfair
and the tar paper shacks that were common in my childhood.

Hopefully, through such doodles, my drawings will start to take shape.

Along with this, my reading of a couple of books about Sian Bowen has turned up some good words. For a start, from Gill Saunders' introduction to Gaze: "As a means of recording, exploring, experimenting, and communicating, [drawing] underpins the creative process, and may often be an end in itself." So it's not just about accurate rendering of objects (though that skill is admirable and covetable) ... the exploring and experimenting dimensions are important too.

1 comment:

barleybooks said...

Once again you give me hope that my "work-room" may one day be workable-in!
I do like the drawings. Tar-paper sheds! I longed to live in one of those, the sort with a verandah and a stove-pipe. In some corner of an English field, with rooks for nearest neighbours.