Experimentation, both in materials and techniques always excites me. Using iron filings to draw’ so that an image is created in rust, has been the most rewarding recent experiment. My researches into materials and techniques inspired by Anish Kapoor’s drawings have also been stimulating and productive. The experiments using Rauschenberg’s transfer method resulted in one of my favourite works so far in this course.
This part of the course has not often called for visual observation but has required me to look inside myself and respond to emotions and ideas. I think my skill in tuning into these and using them in my art has greatly developed through the projects and also through my parallel project work so far. In spite of having my dominant hand in a splint, I continue to attend life drawing classes on a regular basis which I feel is like going to the gym to keep my visual observation skills exercised. I try to use any limitations which occur in my life positively in my art. The splint has pushed me to experiment with drawing with my non-dominant hand, and many, many hours travelling to a sick relative was harnessed through a drawing machine.
My work has become increasingly abstract, simple and conceptual. Any shortcomings of design are instantly exposed. I am trying to find new ways of working in my sketchbooks to develop ideas, rather than representations, into compositions but I am right at the beginning of a new path, and am finding that challenging.
I have produced some pieces of work of which I am proud and which I feel are strong enough to be ‘contemporarily convincing’. Most of these works have come out of course-work or exhibitions feeding into into my parallel project which is starting to consume me. The drawing machine pieces which related to my personal circumstance are all the stronger for that, and I feel that this connect between academic exercises and art relating to my experience is my personal voice starting to assert itself.
Study and exhibition visits, together with reading, not only feed me with ideas but stimulate by establishing connections between artists and between ideas. Workshops are particularly stimulating and although I have not taken any recently I have four booked for the months ahead. Beyond the content of a course, I find coming together with others really fires my creativity.
The balance between exploring all the different things that drawing can be and investigating any area in depth, is difficult to find. One or two of my investigations have come to some sort of fruition, such as rust drawing, but others didn’t, such as drawing to music or using snow. I enjoy beautiful mark making but it has to be harnessed to some underlying idea of substance and value for a strong outcome.
In the past, I have been quite precious about my work, but now I am quite happy to pursue a piece to destruction. It maybe that a resolution is achieved at some point, and then past and the work destroyed, but that no longer worries me.
When I look at my favourite drawings, below, from this part of the course, they are quite pared down, even simple, and seem miles away from drawing skills as I conceived them before this course.