When you can't paint, paint something else.
One of the problems of a long layoff, whether enforced or voluntary, is that it can prove difficult to get back into an unfinished painting. My birthday celebrations, my travels to the US and various domestic matters have all interfered with progress on the painting of Grey's Monument. It now sits on the easel, glaring at me, daring me to get back in and spoil it. I don't believe I will spoil it, of course, but there's always that underlying fear when you've lost the plot a little.
So I thought I might be better employed ignoring it's baleful gaze and doing something else to work up some steam as it were. Not another painting, which might bring with it some of the same baggage, but a drawing. I've neglected my drawing woefully over the last couple of years, so turning back to it can only be a Good Thing.
In an attempt to clear my head completely of its most recent preoccupations, I thought I'd opt for different subject matter too. So I dug out this small sketch I made a while ago.
Blawearie sketch (pencil on A4 cartridge)
I did this in a strange place I know of in Northumberland, a few miles off the road on Bewick Moor. It's held a fascination for me since I first came across it and someday I hope to make a series of work about it; not having any transport of my own, however, makes this difficult.
Nevertheless, I spent some time today making this Conte drawing from the sketch.
Blawearie steps (charcoal and coloured Conte on A2 cartridge)
Evidently I'm in a Graham Sutherland mood today, although later experiments in Photoshop suggest the possibility of a different approach