With the hanging of my solo show in Alstonville there was a sense of completion . All the paintings and drawings were out of the studio and the house, and I guess there was room for something new. It all sounds predictable, but the truth is I wasn’t expecting it. There is so much inspiration in the series ‘the Daughters of Gaia’ that honestly I was just expecting it to continue much the same.
But inspiration and the direction of my work is never entirely up to me.
Above is a drawing that I did in my art journal last January. I couldn’t understand why I was doing intricate pen drawings in what is essentially my sketchbook (I refer to my bewilderment here, but didn’t write much about the confusion that I was feeling.) I don’t know how to explain it now either, but I have learned to follow what I think of as my inspiration and what others might refer to as whimsy.
The starting point was a photo of a young woman holding a baby, but as I began to draw her she began to change. Her hair grew into massive locks, what she was holding disappeared and I became aware that she was looking at a flying beetle.
After the show in Alstonville had opened I was in my rather empty studio wondering what was coming. I remembered my drawing of the woman with the baby in the art journal, who I liked in spite of her rather wonky expression, and felt motivated to draw her larger. I wondered if my very fine drawing pen, a Uniball Signo UM-151 in a wonderful shade of brown-black, would work on a larger scale.
So I roughly sketched her outline in pencil on some good quality print-making paper that I had in my metal cabinet. I didn’t have any watercolour paper heavy enough so I knew she would be limited to pen and ink, no colour. That was fine with me.
I draw out the basic composition and proportions in pencil, then I come in with the pen. I don’t copy over the pencil but use the lines as a helpful initial outline. Because I have already gotten down the proportion and composition with the pencil, I am able to concentrate on other subtleties in the drawing. I am always redrawing what I initially put down in pencil with the pen, refining and perfecting.
Here you can see the size difference, and compare the other differences as well. Her clothing has changed into something close to a military uniform from the 1700’s. And there are a trio of beetles rather than two.
In my opinion her expression has softened and become rather perplexed.
I am very happy with the changes she has gone through. She feels complete now.
Any guesses on what the story might be?