Negative Activity

Busy day at the computer - 31.09.09

Activity (Computer 31.09.09)

studio snapshots - 22.10.09

End of the line in Bristol - and Drawing Dialogue Debates?

Just back from Bristol - visiting 'The End Of The Line: Attitudes in Drawing' exhibition at the City Museum and Art Gallery. (Image above by Mark Brandenburg) - stayed on for the Drawing Debate last night. Particularly wanted to stay for the debate because it's something I am considering initiating as an extension of my Drawing Dialogues idea - but in a public arena. Occasional discussions - where a small panel of artists give a short presentation of their drawing practice and then a discussion/ debate is provoked. Each session would have artists who employ drawing in a different way - from exclusively drawing-based practice to sketching ideas in preparation for executing in a different media and everything in between. I particularly want to aim it at other artists and it will have no references at all to business models, self-promotion, creative engagement, accessibility or money - it will just be about discussing ideas around drawing. Not sure what, when, how or who yet - but part of my current 'if you want something and it doesn't exist, stop moaning and sort it out yourself' frame of mind. Watch this space - but don't hold your breath, could be a long term thing...

Dimensions Variable

Started to run out of wall space for my i.d. cards - at least if I wanted to hang chronologically - so I've transferred to a drawing board. In the studio I'm going to display ('uncut') to match size/ proportions of my current large drawings but the aim is for them to be really flexible and this has led refocused my thoughts about display/ presentation, selection/ curation and audience/ encounter and how one can affect the others.

1 finished!

Perspex plinths

Perspex plinths finally arrived. Want to use them for residues of drawings - test tubes/ bottles and pencil shavings (above) but also going to leave ongoing marks from handling the plinth itself on the surface. Might enhance with finger print powder and/ or etch on the surface too?

Deliveries, delays and drawing dialogues

Very excited today as my silverpoint supplies were delivered. Not sure how large I'm going to go - still have a lot of experimenting to do - but think the subtlety of mark will be really interesting. All the research I've done so far says how long drawings take using silverpoint - but can't believe it takes any longer than drawing with ballpoint pen!
I realised last week that I had completely underestimated the time it would take to finish my two aliminium panel pieces and have revised to end of October at the earliest. Actually not that suprising when I checked back - I expect them each to take at least 350 hours each and I didn't start them until April. Still on target for 4 large drawings this year so all good. Feeling very chilled and positive after a bit of a wobble.
Looks as if 'Drawing Dialogues' (see previous post) is all set for first meeting at end of September. I'm setting first text and have decided on 'Museum of Touch' by Susan Stewart - have Lesley Bricknell to thank for this (link to her blog 'Surfacing Art Journal' on right). Came across it on one of her posts - and title fitted perfectly into my thoughts on presentation, encounter and other issues of 'to frame or not to frame'. Still haven't read properly but that is the whole point of 'Drawing Dialogues' isn't it?

The Reading Room revisited

I've been trying for a while to organise my reading - without much success!! Have a stack of books I want to read, but never seem to find the time to actually read them. If I do start reading, I then get distracted by my own thoughts and go off on a tangent. Still haven't got past the title of Deleuze's 'Difference and Repetition'! One of the things I found really useful about my M.A. was that deadlines etc. were imposed for reading/ writing and dialogue. Have been talking with a few people about organising some sort of regular meetings to discuss our work, particularly in relation to drawing but it hasn't really got anywhere yet. Recently came across a website about Hinterland, a group in Nottingham and part of their programme is The Reading Room which seemed such a simple, but brilliant idea - a text is selected and each member of the group receives a copy to read before meeting to discuss. Of course, reading groups have been around for a while - but for some reason I had always related to literature rather than art. Seems to me it would be really good to set up a small group, where each member takes it in turn to select a text or writing which has some relevance to their current work and use this as the basis for discussion about the text and the work? It would mean access to a variety of reading material and provide a structured basis for dialogue about the work itself?

In progress...

A fairly useless but interesting fact...

I have been working on three drawings using a space pen on aliminium panel for about a year now (they are nearly finished) and have just started my 4th refill.
'The product literature states that the pen will write exactly 30.7 miles (approximately 48.15 kilometers) - that means I have drawn at least 92 miles/ 144 km so far!

Etched glass

I've been playing around with glass etching - not sure how it will progress or what I'm going to use it for but the ultimate aim is to do some images which are 'barely there' or become more/ less visible depending on the position of the viewer. Fits in with the idea of shadow drawings too. Early days....

Exhibition at Angel Row gallery

I've been very busy this week going over to Nottingham to do 'exhibition stuff' but looking forward now to the Private View tomorrow night. Had some time for reflection today and ready for a few days serious drawing over the weekend. Lots of ideas at the moment - but really need to finish aliminum panel drawings before I can get my head around anything else. Have to get some info cards sorted before bed - so another late night!

Reading Room

I've been thinking recently about how to get furniture into my basement studio. Wanted somewhere comfortable to sit and read but no way an ordinary chair or sofa would go down the (narrow) stairs. Then I came across a daybed in the Ikea catalogue - problem solved. Just got to make sure I do use it for reading and don't fall asleep:D

2nd drawing finished!

1 finished!

...nearly forgot

Identity card drawings (small credit card sized).

Drawing To Do List -

Current work in progress (5 large drawings)

Erase drawing(s) (tryptichs)

Wash drawing(s)

Fade drawing(s)

Concertina drawing(s)

Layer drawings (diptychs)

Shadow drawing(s)

plus assorted sample (i.e. small) pieces experimenting with glazes, mixed media and other temptations - and I also want to experiment more with sound/ dance/ movement stuff - so that's me sorted for the next decade or so then!

(Image: Edvard Munch's The Scream)


Feeling strong today so I managed to lift my big roll of Heritage paper onto the table to layer with carbon paper and tissue paper for my erase drawing (it is seriously heavy). Hoping that as I draw on the top layer (tissue) and rub out, the carbon (middle layer) will transfer onto the Heritage (bottom layer). Marks removed fom the top drawing should become visible on the lower layer- that's the idea anyway! Also hoping that the carbon paper itself will also become a drawing in its own right. Shouldn't really be starting a new drawing yet as I need to finish the four I'm currently working on - but I think this is going to be a line drawing rather than tonal so it will give me an alternative if I'm flagging...

Shadow Drawings

Back in 2004 I did a number of 'shadow drawings' (see top image) which were hand-etched images on acrylic sheet - the idea being that when a light shone the shadow of the etched image became visible. As the light changed so the image became less or more visible. As part of my fade/erase/wash series I wanted to do a similar thing with finger marks. Had a bit of a play today with a small piece of test acrylic and I think it will work - although of course it's absolutely impossible to get a decent photo. One dilema is scale - the old ones are about 90 x 120 cm so much easier to draw, see and document - these test are only about 6 x 10 cm and really tricky to draw. However I do quite like the idea of the scale being similar to actual size as when there is no direct light they look almost invisible - similar to finger marks on windows/ mirrors..... Will need to give this more thought - as I've still got a few months work to finish current large drawings there's no rush. Organising a group show at the Crompton in July where all customers/ staff can submit work - so may try to finish this small one for that - can get some idea of how it works and some feedback :)

Jerwood - to do or not to do?

Usual dilema at this time of the year - whether to submit work for the Jerwood Drawing exhibition. I have actually decided to submit again - must be a sucker for punishment :). Problem is that there are thousands of entries but only 40 - 50 selected. Living in Derby the nearest submission point is Liverpool which means at least 2 half days kept clear for taking work and picking up (and those days are fixed so I have to make sure I'm not doing anything else). In the past I've submitted large drawings which has meant making packing cases, and finding transport large enough to fit them into. This year I've decided to submit 3 smaller works which are representative of my current larger drawings - a pencil on paper, a wax/ pencil drawing and a drawing on translucent japanese paper. The latter is a single drawing (but I'll be doing some large scale layered drawings in the near future) and I've framed it so that it's sandwiched between 2 sheets of perspex to emphasise the translucent quality. Should all fit easily in my car which will keep the costs down and I shall use the opportunity for a bit of culture in Liverpool if time permits.

Pencil stuff

I've been having problems lately with drawing - after a few hours or so my fingers are aching more than normal. I think part of the problem is that the pencil gets smaller and smaller and although I have a pencil extender, the ridges actually make my fingers hurt even more. I'm hoping the answer lies in using a cluch pencil - should mean the pencil is exactly the same length/ weight all the time. Shall test over the next few months. As a result I needed to find a way to collect the residues - so I ordered some test tubes (will collect as individual drawings rather than the years of combined shavings from traditional pencils.)
I have been contemplating doing an animation for some time - still way off actually executing but found a promising piece of software - pencil - which I'm going to try to find the time to experiment with.
Finally, recently came across a pencil of the month club, which I'm really tempted to subscribe to - problem is single pencils aren't much use to me work-wise, but then I'd probably just keep them to look at anyway!