Pimping paper and other thoughts

Pimping paper

This blog post is being written whilst I am drawing, the huge surge of thoughts and ideas are positively coursing through my veins, I thought it best not to lose these ephemeral thoughts altogether so have decided to jot them down as I go, my hands, my elbows and my fingers ache from sitting almost motionless for hours inches away from my drawing. Here are my thoughts:

So I have been engaged in some of the most intense drawing sessions ever this last week, I now know how deeply involved with what I am doing I get since realising I had been concentrating so hard that I had been gritting my teeth for about two hours – so much so my front teeth all ache.

Getting involved with something as seemingly simple as dots on a piece of paper (the element I’m focussing on at the moment) is a strange thing, whilst slipping into a trance like state I consider what way gives the best and most even finish, if one way of movement injects more life than another, if drawing towards myself uses one side of the brain more as opposed to the other and how it influences my thought – and vice versus.

There’s nothing like a deadline to help me realise just what kind of levels I have begun to work at. Just how massive the tasks I set myself are and how they manage to skew my own space time continuum. How they suck up vast amounts of time into seeming nothingness – this is the process, the result is the supernova of the process. I’m sure this makes no scientific sense whatsoever but to me – to me – I understand it perfectly.

The act of drawing, as I do places enormous stresses on me. Trying to stick to such a rigid studio practice is hard, it’s tough – but when I see that finished piece…when I see it, it makes me feel calm, it makes me feel relieved, it is satisfaction objectified.

I have never felt this hungry to achieve something with my art, I don’t know whether this is inward and personal or outward and career/ life wise – possibly some of both. The passion within me right now burns like a star blazes.

It’s a strange thought to have been working on something that by its nature changes every time I interact with it to feel like I know it so well, I feel like a know every facet, nook and cranny of this drawing as if I were born and bred within its undulating forms. I look forward to seeing the drawing each morning as soon as I wake up and my eyes have adjusted to see what it has become, almost akin to a chrysalis yielding a butterfly, even if no one else agrees with me what I do here gives me immense and unmeasurable pleasure – which I cannot be find anywhere else on the face of this earth. To me what I do is valuable, it is unique and I love it.

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human expression
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Sketching intuitively

 

In an age where computer appears to be King, where computers can do practically anything, faster and in some eyes better than their human counterparts I question the need for the pursuit of a time consuming craft – in my case drawing – more specifically drawing that is now continuously testing the outer reaches of my skill, my patience and my ambition. The drawings I produce could no doubt be rendered very quickly to a perceived artificial, perfect visual standard, absolute colour, absolute consistency of line, flawless surface – I could continue but I think you get the idea. Whilst all this is true, this seemingly immense beast which is the technological world lacks the human touch. It lacks the empathy displayed intuitively by a thinking, living being. The immense and absolute power of the computer is also its downfall in certain respects.

The colours I lay down on a page, the lines I carefully pull around the paper, the inconsistencies I leave in the wake of the passing pen tip signal to the viewer that this is the work of an imperfect human being, someone that understands good days, bad days and everything in between, someone who understands the sheer joy of creating something with all of its inherent prizes and pitfalls. The computer / printer/ software cannot do this, it cannot rejoice in a mountain climbed, it cannot salivate at the prospect of a new and daunting challenge – or its completion. The human touch in the 21st century I argue is now more important than it ever has been and it follows that hand crafted objects of whatever description should be prized and looked at with an eye that can respect and understand the imperfections of millennia of tradition. I feel very proud to be part of that inherently human tradition.

Thinking about the education of an artist (which can come in many different forms but here, specifically the fine art university route), it is imperative that a degree – with all of the valuable skills learnt whilst studying is used only as a springboard from which the artist MUST propel themselves forward and make the commitment to continue learning and developing. It is all too easy to graduate and not move forward with many elements of ones practice, the loss of stimulation, discussion and interaction of others on leaving a shared studio can be lethal for anyone serious about making artwork beyond degree years. It should be taught (perhaps it is and I never noticed) that it is only the beginning and the vast visual riches that could lay ahead can only be unlocked via considered – and considerable hard work and application of what has already been learnt with an eye to develop and look to the future. Becoming an artist is universes more than simply getting a degree under the umbrella of fine art. It is a lifelong journey.

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Thinking about what my drawings are whilst actually drawing allows me to look at them using a different area of the mind – I think. They seem to be intuitive in a sense and also reactive to the other forms around what is being drawn in the present, the interactions between the forms seems to be very important. I want – and have for a long time wanted my drawings to fizz with life, curiosity and a sense of suggestion. The technique I have developed is not the most inherently expressive in terms of the marks being made on the paper (as an example expressive swipes and splats) – the expression for me comes in the culmination of all the elements coming together and creating a visual busyness.

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Provenance:
I have been thinking about my process of blogging about my drawings/ progress/ thoughts and feelings etc and have realised it is a great record of the history or a drawing as it shows various stages of completion and for any potential buyers be nice to include snippets of the my blog (and of course the full link) in the parcel when delivering a sale, also I thought a nice idea might be to include a magnifying glass so as to highlight the importance of the detail within the piece. To then be able to view it as I have through its various stages of completion.

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Random thought:
Straight off the bat of an incredibly rewarding drawing session today after work and it struck me that all art should be an adventure for the artist – this applies to all types, shapes, sizes and ideas in art, drawing, painting, installation – whatever. The artist should always feel he or she is taking part in an adventure, pushing whatever it is he or she is doing to new limits, constantly learning and seeing more than yesterday.

The pictures in this post is the latest stage of my drawing. Good, bad or indifferent I’d love to hear what you think.

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Whilst having a few thoughts after work a couple of days ago today regarding the mountain of work still in front of me in this drawing I started to question whether I had bitten off more than I can chew?  Whether time constraints (i.e. as I cannot devote my entire day to producing and sinking my teeth into my work and only being able to steal windows of time) coupled with an extremely time consuming way of working was actually costing too much in terms of time versus my real life artistic output.  This was whirling round and round in my mind.  The fact is for what I consider a very intricate piece I am effectively committing months of my studio time to one piece, knowing full well it would take considerably less time if I was practicing full time.

Now, taking all this into consideration I then put down my pen and reflected upon this and instantly came to this conclusion:

Take what you can, when you can, unconditionally love what you do, remember that every mark made is a step forward and the mountain that you have to climb becomes smaller, even the smallest amount of time spent is time spent well and can work wonders for a frustrated mental state of mind.

 

 

artistic cat burglary will find its way

artistic cat burglary will find its way

Firstly I would like to thank A-N for featuring my blog on their Twitter and Facebook pages, I am absolutely over the moon to think there are people to whom my writing is of some interest.

Back to business now, so I have been considering the future of my work/ practice and how I spend my time creatively speaking, I have asked myself questions as I consider myself a devotee of abstract art but have always dabbled in figuration on the off chance that I might at some point in the future decide to use figurative motifs within in my drawings, however I have decided this is akin to holding an umbrella above my head whilst the sun is out in the middle of summer. Pointless really unless I decided to pour a super focus onto really developing my skills in this area with a view to using them on a new project – as I have no such plans I feel this can only be detrimental to my current practice. On top of this I seem to remember Jake and Dino Chapman retiring to their studio for a year or more to learn to carve whilst doing nothing else so as to master what they needed to achieve, so what I am saying is anything is achievable with focused hard work – but in this area I think for me I would need to see an end goal to commit to a very different direction, especially when I find so much to explore in what I am already doing (I’m not for second comparing myself to these illustrious guys but perhaps you see my point).

Part of trying to fit any kind of practice around a full time day job requires some thought, in my case this comes in the form of carrying a tiny notebook that was bought for me as a present to record ideas, thoughts and possible solutions to current problems I might be having with a drawing, even helping with things like how to move forward with very rough and basic sketches recording colour ideas and drawings that will be scaled down and repeated in what I consider more developed and polished work.

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Here’s an image giving a glimpse into how I go about my day, this little book is used if I’m stationary in traffic, lunch breaks, whilst eating dinner, or any other number of different points during the day, it allows me to capture small ideas that would – with the best will in the world normally quietly vanish whilst going about my day to day business (which hopefully one day will be making art). I feel this is extremely enriching to my work and helps me to add depth and meaning to what I am trying to do. Incidentally it is so small because it is easy to conceal whilst I’m not strictly meant to be thinking of such things…it is a tool for artistic cat burglary. I scrawl notes and things of any interest that could be used later.
Thank you as always for taking the time to read my meandering thoughts.

For those of you that have been reading my blog you will know I have been working on a drawing for some time now, happily I feel I have reached a point where I feel the drawing is really starting to build and it is beginning to show signs of substance (in my opinion only). It must be a psychosomatic thing but I now feel the drawing is flowing from me with ease and with little conscious effort, my focus has not dulled and is only strengthened by the creative energy I am now able to glean from the thought that I am coming ever closer to my goal and the vision that once seemed so far away. For me this is the sweet spot in my drawing process where I consider the intensity, life and vitality to begin to present itself and with that my doubts and worries quietly recede.

 

It may of been obvious through reading the paragraph above but I am currently riding the crest of the “successful session of effortless drawing” wave after an invisible day at work, coupled with the all-powerful sweet spot, tonight’s experience has been the visual equivalent of a post exercise high.
I would love to hear what you think of this drawing and as usual all comments – good and bad are welcome.
I consider my drawings to be fairly extreme (the irony of “fairly extreme” has not passed me by), the execution, aesthetic and the attention to detail all reflects my persona, thoughts and behaviour in a way, my drawings are in essence a self-portrait of sorts – each drawing with its own take on a slice of cerebral accuracy that takes a subconscious look at its creator – me. (whom it also appears to be a pretentious buffoon…that can be art though I guess and certain strands of the masses brand all artists “pretentious buffoons” so I may as well indulge in this fallacy a little with my blossoming love of writing). This of course is not true, the art world as with any other strand of society has it’s good and bad, some down to earth people who feel no need to exaggerate their difference but are happy to quietly do their thing and some flouncy people who are the complete opposite – unfortunately our flouncers are the people a lot of the non arty areas of society think we all are. This is not the case. Being involved in art (albeit on a tiny scale) is one of the greatest and most rewarding gifts I could ever wish to have. Thank you as always for taking the time to read my somewhat random musings

Progress update

So, we are now looking at approximately the half way point in this drawing, i. Part it has been excruciatingly painful to try and stay with it as opposed to walking away, I am hoping the colours will “pop” against one another – especially when the darker areas are completed. I’d love to hear any thoughts or opinions on this drawing – good or bad, all are welcome.
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saatchiart: stuart belton

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