Footprints 1 – Following me around.

I can’t remember when or where I drew these footprints. I dug them out the other day, when looking for something else. A complete mystery, but obviously from somewhere.

It reminds me of the quote from Rodin in my previous blog “Walking with Rodin.” and I deliberately mis-quote him here: “It is not my Footprints in themselves that interests me, but rather the thought of where they have come from, and where they are going to.” Having unearthed them, they already seem to be following me around the house a bit. I’m wondering if they are about to disappear all by themselves behind a cupboard or something, and re-emerge again in 5 years time, to haunt me.

As to what animal it is – that I think must have come out of my imagination. Polar Bear, Mammoth, Yeti? Perhaps I will have to lie in wait, and see if the animal that produced them appears again.

They are not mine – I have ascertained that. Although I did draw them. Or did I?

Security Breach at Russell Square!


020818 - Security 1Jumping out at Russell Square tube station, I noticed these doors at the end of the platform and was immediately drawn in by the arrangement of the security seal tape, and it’s constant removal and replacement along the vertical openings of the doors.

020818 - Security 2There is something paradoxical that the seals have been put in place and removed so many times. The cabinets being broken into, and then taped over again and again, as if some drama, a crime thriller is taking place with the repeat button firmly pushed down.

020818 - Security 3The vertical arrangement also reminds me strongly of the “Hanging Soap Women, 2000” sculpture by the Polish artist Miroslav Balka, of which, I believe, half of it is in the Tate Modern collection, and half of it is at the White Cube Gallery, after the original length was cut in two. This beautiful sculpture made of a large quantity of used bars of soap in lots of different colours and strung up along a metal cable is well worth hunting down to have a look at. It does have an underlying message as well, which has got absolutely nothing to do with what is going on in Russell Square, but perhaps you can see the connection.

020818 - Security 4Back to the mystery of what is going on behind these doors!

What makes it so worthwhile for somebody to break in so many times, risking capture, torture, possibly even death, and yet still persist?


Trying to understand deckchairs.

I’m sure that there are plenty of comedy acts about putting up deckchairs and failing. It seems to me an equally impossible job to draw them successfully. Perhaps I haven’t the patience.

230718 - Deckchairs 1In London’s Green Park (or “Brown Park”, or “Straw-coloured Park”, as the heat-wave seems to have repainted it) the deckchairs have already been put up for you, but as I was idly drinking my coffee, I could see a game of Cat and Mouse going on, as people dodged around trying to avoid paying the attendant with his ticket machine.

230718 - Deckchairs 3When you are trying to draw or paint them, the deckchairs always seem to have too many bits of wood, or frames, and does this interlock with this, or that? Do they go in front or behind the canvas seat?

And what about the stripes? Deckchairs always seem to be striped. Yet more lines to get entangled with when drawing! Always a mess, but fun to draw all the same.

230718 - Deckchairs 2Deckchairs are never that comfortable to sit in anyway I find, and there is always that fear of imminent collapse as you sink into one, and the difficulty of getting out in a hurry as the deckchair attendant draws near… –  “OK you win, here is you £2.80 for an hour…”

Personally, I prefer to sit or lay on the grass anyway. So much less hassle. I like the easy life, although I do think I need to set myself the challenge of drawing, or painting, deckchairs again sometime – keep going with my attempts until I can get the hang of it…

230718 - Deckchairs 4Not there yet!


They say the darkest hour…

(No – not the Gary Oldman film.)

…is right before the dawn. To quote Bob Dylan.

210118 - Darkest Hour 2Possibly against my better judgement (and others – thanks for the comments!)), I decided to do a bit more work on the sketch from last week.

I introduced a bit of more colour with Conté crayons, and some charcoal to liven it up a bit, and also to increase that blackness. Is it better? I don’t know.

I sometimes feel that “the darkest hour” arrives when you realise that you have just ruined a perfectly good sketch by carrying on and on; perhaps not in this case, but certainly other drawings that I have worked on.

I’ll stop there.

Purple kohlrabi, Quentin Blake and me.

011017 - Purple kohlrabi

I thought I would put a big startling image to start with to wake you up! This one is drawn using Conte crayons.

Jane brought this lively looking character back from the farm shop today, and I just had to draw it. The knobbly bits on top looked like numerous goggly eyes, and the light slashes where the leaves had been removed took on mouths, smiling, sneering, smirking. This guy just had to sit for me and have his portrait taken.

In some ways, having drawn it, I realise that it has vague similarities to either Dennis the Menace’s Gnasher from The Beano, or the wonderful:

011017 - Huge head on wheels

featuring in the Quentin Blake exhibition: “The Only Way to Travel” that is currently on at the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings. (Actually, the image above is a bit I copied from the margin of the wonderful quirky ink drawing of the same name and is, relatively speaking, quite small.)

In this exhibition, Quentin has done some really massive brushed drawings (where did he get that size paper!), that cover complete walls of the gallery, which you literally have to walk quite a few paces to get from one end to the other; a journey in itself. The title gives a theme of getting from A to B and allows for the artist to give full rein to his imagination. There are lots of Heath Robinson-esque contraptions or vehicles / animals / planes (or more accurately flying machines) / and birds to transport us around in.

I mentioned Heath Robinson, but perhaps there is a myriad of influences that seems to underlie Blake’s drawings here: Salvador Dali comes to mind with the elongated legs or crutches that appear regularly; there are some very free drawings where ink is dripped and swung over the paper that nod to Jackson Pollock. Perhaps the most dominant feature is a lack of features, especially with the smaller framed drawings with deliciously coloured suns, here we have wasted landscapes where nothing appears to grow, trees are mere stumps, and in one picture we have refugees huddled, wandering aimlessly, looking for a place to call home. Stand up Paul Nash and his World War pictures. I also think that WALL-E from the Disney-Pixar film of the same name would have fitted in well here looking amongst the rubble for signs of life.

Quentin Blake’s long career has given people of all ages great joy, and I hope that the crutches and vulture like birds, that appear in several of these works, is not an omen that things are about to come to a catastrophic end.

011017 - Quentin Blake - The only way to travel