Untitled 1

waking up this morning to the drawing i had created the previous night, i thought to myself: “how on earth did i get to that??”.. my next thought was… why not write down what you remember about how you got there? so, here we go…..

untitled 1 edit

this started out with me deciding i wanted to draw one object from lots of different angles and perspectives, with the drawings overlapping each other. i chose to draw a mug which was being used as an ashtray and chose to draw in charcoal as it is very good for quick, instinctive mark-making and you can wipe it away fairly easily too.

i had been watching a documentary on the photographer david hockney for about half an hour late thursday night before starting and, actually, i wasn’t intending to do any artwork until i started watching…

david started talking about perspective and perceptions of reality in his photographs and even though this was something that i had been exposed to before, his way of articulating certain ideas or philosophies really grabbed me and i found myself conjuring up idea after idea in my head for future art pieces, as he spoke. he talked about cubism in a way that made me understand what can be so special about it and was using painting as well as his photography to show his version of cubism, or homage, maybe.

seeing the object from all it's angles, is this more real than reality? if seeing the chair from one angle, are you seeing the whole chair?

seeing the object from all it’s angles, is this more real than reality? if seeing the chair from one angle, are you seeing the whole chair?

it was when i saw his paintings that i really started to identify a little bit with some of his ways of thinking. i have been particularly interested in photography in this past year, my first year of practicing as an artist, almost equally as interested as i have been with painting and drawing which i assumed would be top ranking in terms of what could/would take my interest. throughout the documentary, hockney is shown to have a history of abandoning photography and turning to painting. then going vice-versa again. it’s a struggle i sometimes have in my own head as to which i should concentrate on, however i am yet to abandon either and still feel drawing and painting is what i should be doing. but, the internal debate may possibly never end..

during an advert break, i found my sketchbook, some charcoal and a putty rubber. i wasn’t going to embark on anything too ambitious, i just wanted to sketch something from different angles and see what came onto the page. i didn’t think too much about composition or even about being particularly accurate, i just drew loads of mugs on a page. each one from a different angle or perspective. it didn’t look great and because it was charcoal i was using, i decided to wipe off the paper with a bit of cloth and see what marks would be left behind (unfortunately i don’t have any photos of the different stages as the whole thing became very, very instinctive and spontaneous).

it was interesting to see what shapes had been created and i just put more marks wherever i thought they needed to be. using either my fingers or the putty rubber, i was smudging lines and erasing certain areas. i was also using lots of contrasting lines in random places and really just drawing without a destination.

far off landscapes started to form around some of the edges and an eye appeared, followed by a scene in the foreground which sort of resembled a forest coming to life. everything was going too dark though, because i had been drawing so frantically with the charcoal, layer after layer. so, wipe it all off again!!

at this point my mind was starting to go back to the thoughts i was having whilst listening to hockney talk about perception of reality, where visions of abstract portraits were the main thing entering into my head. i looked at what was left on the paper and started to form what i hoped would be some at least vaguely recognisable facial features wherever i could, cubist style or not, as long as it was looking abstract and not ‘realistic’

i repeated a process of mark, smudge, erase, wipe a few times until i was happy that i had a half decent abstract image of a face, or portrait. here is a scan of what i settled on:

untitled 1, unedited

i liked it but felt it was lacking something to give it the impact i wanted. i made a decision to try some things on an online photo editor. i adjusted hue, saturation, contrast, brightness, lightness and after playing around with those for a bit i felt this was as good as i was going to get and i certainly feel it’s a much stronger image:

untitled 1 edit

with all the editing, the image maybe looks a bit grainy but combined with the cold blue hue and the dark, deranged expression displayed by my ‘subject’ i think it gives a nice effect which hopefully draws in the viewer a bit more than the original. i think it makes you want to look.

what does anybody else think? i’m going to be using wordpress more frequently to discuss my art in more depth from now on. i am also planning on changing my style much more towards the abstract, so i would love to get some feedback, (good or bad).  there is a comments box somewhere on here, please feel free to use it.





“why should we be scared?”

this is John Hurt as Mr. Braddock in Stepehn Frear’s movie ‘The Hit’ from 1984. I used charcoal / compressed charcoal / pastel / graphite / pen on A1 paper.

with a little quote from the film…