Meet Jock. He’s a hot water bottle.

280118 - JockI was inspired to draw / paint this after visiting the Rachel Whiteread exhibition at Tate Britain last weekend. She had cast quite a few “Torso’s” by filling up hot water bottles with various materials, plaster, resin etc. and then, presumably, removing the outer rubber “skin”. It’s alright Jock – I wouldn’t dream of doing that to you!

I must admit, if you did lop off the head, arms and legs of somebody (please don’t try this at home, or anywhere else for that matter!), then yes – you can see the resemblance to the inflated insides of a hot water bottle.

Rachel Whiteread likes turning your mind inside-out and back-to-front with casts of stairs, windows, sheds, baths, bookshelves (I liked these!), and rather infamously a complete terraced house (sadly now demolished under rather controversial circumstances). It is the voids, the spaces inbetween that she captures so well.

The papier-mâché shed end exhibited here took me back to seeing the inside-out shed installed in the grounds of Houghton Hall in Norfolk that which we visited last year. In particular, I liked the cast detail of the bolt from the inside of the shed door, especially as a caterpillar was crawling up the side (bottom left of the right hand picture). It made it seem so real!

280118 - RW TBLastly, I have to share this with you. This is Rachel Whiteread’s “Untitled (One Hundred Spaces)” from 1995, which filled one of the main Duveen Galleries at Tate Britain. Each of the 100 pieces is a cast in various coloured resins of the underside of a found chair. Really beautiful!

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.

Puddles of light in the gravy of the night.

140118 - The darkest hourIt is dark when I walk down to the station in the mornings at the moment. This picture is of a side road that was shrouded in a murky foggy fug, and would definitely have got the part in any drama by Dickens. (if you take out the electric street lights, cars, telegraph poles…da-dee-da-dee-da!)

It is just a sketch as it stands, and needs a lot more work doing to it to get it to a point where I can give it the title that I want – But I’ll withhold that for now, with the hope of using it when I return.

Back to the drawing board with it!