Tuesday, 20 May 2008

More Drawing Angst.

Mont Louis (A5 sketchbook, Rotring Art Pen)

I was reminded of this sketchbook drawing by some reading I've been doing across the blogs.

James Hobbs says in his blog, "Cafes remain a favourite place for me to work. They are often fantastically located, in the heart of a town, offering outdoor seating, tables to spread out on and plenty of refreshments."

I understand this absolutely. I still recall making that drawing in Mont Louis, on a walking holiday in the Pyrenees in 1991. Half way through the day we sat at a cafe table and ate our lunch, while I took as long as I felt necessary to make the drawing of the building opposite, refreshments arriving as required.. The fine lines are an indication of how my eyesight is not now what it was, and it was done with the instrument I loved so much then, the Rotring Art Pen. The damn thing seized up long ago and nothing I've been able to do to it has unclogged the nib. I'd buy another, were it not for the fact that I did buy another and the same thing happened to that. If anyone knows how to unclog them, I'd love to know.

It's become increasingly obvious that there's a huge movement around the blogosphere to encourage drawing and looking at this sketchbook makes me think again about how little I do myself.

There was a time when I did nothing but draw. By which I mean, I hadn't started to paint. I made images only with pencil or ink. Colour was actually something I avoided like the plague. I couldn't come to terms with it. At school, I would drag out the drawing part of the exercise so that I wouldn't have to "colour it in" and ruin it.

I began to paint seriously in 1989 and it's been a long hard slog to get to grips with colour, and colour and I are still wrestling with one another. In the process, I've allowed my drawing practice to fall away.

I'm not sure why this should be. Perhaps once I stopped having to make artworks in my spare time (when the actual lack of time meant that a black and white image was a more economical use of the time), it didn't feel necessary. I don't know.

Maybe the need to create paintings to sell and prop up the sybaritic lifestyle to which I've become accustomed led me to feel that a drawing would not contribute to my welfare (despite having sold several drawings in the past). Perhaps.

Some of it may be to do with my working methods. In the early days of my painting, I would take a photograph, run it through the office copier and make a charcoal drawing from the photocopy. The resultant painting would come from using all three - the photograph, the photocopy and the drawing - as source material. But as time has gone on and my abilities have improved, I don't need to do that now, because I can make some of the adjustments that the process achieved, in my head.

As a result, I find that I only seem to draw when on holiday and even then, not a great deal. The drawing above is from a sketchbook started in 1990 and still less than half full. I really must rectify this, but how to do so, when all my good intentions to do so have so far failed? Maybe I should try to get involved with some of the blogging initiatives that I see happening, like the Moleskine Exchange project that Casey Klahn is about to take part in. But how do I get involved in something like that? Anyone care to throw me a lifeline?


Casey Klahn said...

My drawing has suffered since I took up painting, too.

But, one encouragement is that my painting is feeling the benefit of renewed interest in drawing.

Mr Zip said...

Then I guess there's hope for me yet.

Tina Mammoser said...

Oh, but drawing will contribute to your welfare! It's too easy to get sucked into the production for selling phase, and forget that much of our expression and originality comes from the exploration stages of our work. Observing, playing, sketching, experimenting.

One option is to start your own drawing project. Blog it - which makes it a public commitment. Perhaps start another blog that has your daily sketch, or weekly sketchbook page perhaps. I've been considering this too, I'd quite like to sketch every day even if it's a tiny scribble. If you do it I will. ;)

And strange synchronicity too, my next podcast (alas *still* waiting for editing) is about my sketchbooks. :) Spooky!

Mr Zip said...

Tina, I thank you, and in my heart of hearts I know you're right. I used to love drawing for its own sake and always felt better for having done it.

I'll certainly consider the commitment to regular sketchbook postings, especially if it'll give you a boost to do likewise:]

All I have to decide is whether to post on Boogie Street or start another blog for the purpose. Oh, lord. A decision!

Katherine Tyrrell said...

The main way of getting involved in projects is to be interested in other people's blogs and to visit and comment. Most people then reciprocate. However in my experience, nothing happens overnight and it takes time to build up contacts and to get involved.

Mr Zip said...

I guess I've just not been visiting the right blogs for this to happen in the four years I've been blogging.

BR said...

Mr. ZIP! I am very happy to see you have returned. In answer to your query re: the William Tolliver painting, And Then I Rest, (http://photos3.flickr.com/4299647_3ae9ed58fa_m.jpg) Tolliver was a well known painter in New Orleans. Most of his work reflected the Jazz community. My wife and I bought this Oil in a gallery on Royall St. in the French Quarter on site when seen.
I love to buy pieces by an artist that are off-type.
Take care and keep up the outstanding work.

Mr Zip said...

Thanks, BR. Good to have linked up again.

Katherine Tyrrell said...

I can see why it might be frustrating if you've been blogging for four years! Projects come and go - I've seen a number AFTER they had happened.

I also think it's impossible to say which are "the right blogs" and in fact I'm not sure there are any - just scanning a lot seems to help.

I do know I found visiting blogs lots easier once I started using a feedreader.

Nice to find another Art Pen user out there! If they're clogging my guess is you're using the wrong ink in them. Mine works fine using the Rotring ink - but does benefit from a hot bath now and again.

Mr Zip said...

I wouldn't wish to imply a value judgement by the use of "right blogs", Katherine, only that they haven't produced the result I might have wished for (however much I may have enjoyed reading them).

I've just started using a reader, so will be interested to see how that affects my blog-visiting in future.

I've never used anything other than Rotring ink in my pens, so that can't be the cause of the clogging. My suspicion is that it may have something to do with the liberal use of fixative on some of the papers of the sketchbook, but I have no way of confirming that this might be so. Certainly a bath in pen cleaner has not had much effect.

Thanks for your input.

Gwen Buchanan said...

This is a lovely drawing! do more!!!

harrybell said...

Thank you, Gwen. I'm trying to get motivated again.