Delving into density

Delving into density

I must first make the now usual apologies for the length of time since my last post, I have been very busy and spending as much time as possible taking the fight to my work and really entrenching myself in each moment that I am working, not thinking about how much work lays ahead and the time that will elapse between now and the finished article.

The mindset I have described above is the best way forward for me as an individual involved in the type of work I produce, I also believe that trying to be in each moment as far as possible is helping nurture a more pure type of drawing and deepening what is developing in front of me in each microcosmic thought displayed on the paper.

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Since a child I have always had a predisposition to be fascinated by dense works of art almost regardless of what they depict, whether figurative or abstract, works that are heavily worked and minutely detailed. The figuration aspect of this has since slipped away and I am purely interested within the abstract (although ironically many of my favourite artists are that of a figurative nature). After many years of exploration I have recognised this fact and set about delving into its seemingly endless possibilities, things have subsequently become more and more intense and the tensions in the creation of these drawings is becoming something of a badge of honour now – I enjoy the process equally as much as the pride I feel in the finished article – you decide if that pride is misplaced or undeserved!

Now I have cemented what I am and what I do I am hell bent on plunging to its deepest depths, as you can probably ascertain I am writing with an impassioned vigour as I can barely contain my enthusiasm for what is – and what could lay ahead.

Perhaps a fairly cryptic post today?

Thank you for reading as always

 

To see more of my work please visit me here:

http://www.stuartbelton.com

instagram: @stu01621

Twitter: @stu01621

stu.belton@aol.co.uk

Firstly I will apologise for the disjointed nature of what you are about to read, I managed to stay in my studio until 11pm tonight so must be quick.

I stole a really cheeky look around the National Gallery after dinner the other day in the big smoke, I had to be quick so I decided dive into see the post impressionists and then into the incredible Australian impressionists exhibition (I was bought membership here for Christmas so this allowed me to duck in – guilt free at the minimal time I had…walking briskly past the canelettos – I had no time for caneletto’s today, I had to get to the Australians before anything else.

That morning I had read an article on a Facebook page regarding the optimal viewing times that “experts” consider to be the best in which to understand the painting you are looking at. I thought I’d put this to the test as I was I was in the perfect place to test such theories. The time was something like four minutes and seven seconds by the way.

As I headed straight for the post impressionists (as always) but became waylaid by the superb Australian impressionists exhibition, the painting I looked at was Arthur Streeton’s “fires up”. A magnificent painting by anyone’s standards, I stood gazing, probably for the best part of ten minutes, I looked intently and as I did the painting begun to offer more information about itself, other characters and the story unfolded. An experience I will never forget.

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Of course I had to see my artistic idol Cézanne – rude not to, so whilst testing the above theory (which works incredibly well) I noticed – whilst loosing myself in a landscape by the great man it was painted with masses of energy…a painting that I thought I knew intimately changed before my very eyes. Fascinating and I recommend you all do the same.

I was standing the middle of one of the huge galleries and I had stopped as I was feeling full from the meal we’d just had and slightly tipsy – I pulled my phone out to look at – i then realised – what the hell are you doing – a phone usually one of the most prized items in the hands of anyone, at least so it seems judging on every train I got onto today and the throngs of people constantly passing – heads down,
slipping quick glances forward to ensure they aren’t going to collide with anything or anyone. I digress, the phone, to me, then became the poor mans choice in terms of visual and cerebral stimulation with such a multitude of sumptuous richness to look at – need I say I see the error of my ways and promptly slipped the phone back into my pocket almost not being able to believe what an ass I had just been.
Okay more from tonight’s studio session:

I had an incredibly satisfying session tonight in which I learnt a lot and saw future doors open before in anticipation of the time I need to walk through them, a fabulous feeling.

Tonight’s quote – so apt and I can really respond to this:
“More of me comes out when I improvise” – Edward Hopper

Whilst considering what I had drawn tonight it occurred to me that I need to begin looking at the negative space in my work now…the stark white space could be developed and cultivated for better use in future endeavours. The drawing at the top of the page is what I finished tonight, it is little more than a sketch but I loved every second of its creation for the value it has given me. I learnt a lot about new processes and the behaviour of a new pen and the qualities of the inks.

Thank you for humouring my horrendously rushed entry tonight.

http://www.stuartbelton.com

Instagram  and twitter: @stu01621

Just a quick random post. I’m sure I’m not alone here in saying all I ever seem to see are people with necks craned and hunched over a smartphone – this unfortunately is an all too common sight in my house. So during a period when our household wifi speed was that of the average glacier it prompted me to think about some one of the benefits of drawing. (I know drawing can take many, many different and complicated forms but for me it is a simple mark making process). This technical disaster happened whilst I was doing some light drawing so I was completely unaffected by this occurrence. This led me to think just how lucky I feel to love something like drawing. From early man daubing and recording life on the walls of a cave in southern France and Africa or on rocks in Australia it is an amazing thought to think I’m basically doing the same thing, my work (in principle) requires no technology – just a pen or pencil and paper but technically could be done anywhere and on anything – for instance on the wall of a cave…interesting thought as I’ve often thought about transferring my work onto the streets…okay not quite the same rocks in Australia – but you see the link.
I apologise for the slightly bizarre ramblings here but as I’ve stated before I use this blog sometimes to reflect and look for answers as to what else I could possibly try out. Maybe a different substrate could be interesting?
Thank you for reading.

twitter: @stu01621
insta: @stu01621
http://www.stuartbelton.com

Whilst scrolling aimlessly through my Instagram page I had the thought that the throwaway society that we have now begun to live in has rubbed off on the way we choose to view art. Instead of picking up a book or committing some time to visit a gallery a phone or tablet is an easier option, what I mean is this kind of sucks the quality out of the whole experience of looking at art…standing where the artist had once stood, it’s astounding how different art can look in the flesh when compared to its image on a screen. An obvious statement but so true. Who has not been staggered by the sheer scale of a painting or sculpture before in the past or even how painterly some appears, subtle chisel marks or how a piece operates in a certain space…all this is lost on a screen.

For the record I think about the internet and social media as a fantastically powerful tool for the artist, but I also think it has some pitfalls as well – how big (or small) are they – I don’t know so I decided to explore this thought a little.

Pro. Massive potential exposure to a global audience, galleries, collectors etc…all at the touch of a button.

Pro or con. Now I’m not too sure what camp this falls into? Social media allows and the internet in general allows the viewer to scroll quickly through images without really looking at the work, I could say that this opens the art world to individuals that would not normally step foot into a gallery but the thing with stepping foot into a gallery is that the viewer is likely to appreciate the work more, the size, the craftsmanship, the tiny details and texture. Even an extreme zoom facility doesn’t even come close to an “in the flesh” view.

Pro. Networking opportunities with other artists or people interested in things or themes that an artist works with.

Pro. Seeing what other artists are doing that would otherwise be inaccessible- for instance artists in far flung countries with no or no exposure.

Con. Even more competition from artists all over the world.
Moving on from that brief brainstorming of thoughts…

In other news I have managed to finish a large drawing (photo annoyingly to follow at some point), the work on it has been intersected with work on other large pieces and some smaller ones as well (as I have said before keeping several pieces on the go at once keeps the studio fresh and I always look forward to working on each one). Along with the conquer of this drawing I have also reworked two smaller sketches.

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Sometimes I feel as if I could stay in my studio all night, tonight was one of those nights, I usually work in there at the weekends and several week nights after work and become so engrossed in what I am doing that I have to tear myself away so as to be able to function the next day at work. Tonight I worked with absolutely no interruption, I literally sat down and seconds later the pen was weaving about the paper. It was a very pure drawing experience, the essence of why I love – really love what I do.

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I was alone and focused completely on each line I navigated through the plethora of other marks, as the lines pulled and pushed and pushed their way onto the paper my vision was tunnelled on what, how and why I would do next? I have had the privilege of conducting some of the most fluid and lucid drawing since I have had a studio – long may it continue…

Thank you as always for reading.

A candid look at what happened after graduation from the safety of art school.

As an art school graduate I was at one point part of the artworks system – albeit at undergraduate level. In wondrous naivety I used to think being an artist was realistically a mixture of producing work – in my case drawings, exhibiting and selling if lucky and the opportunity to schmooze with other people involved in the art world (with a probable dose of poverty and unrelated work thrown in for good measure. Very nice – maybe a reality for some?

My reality and what course I was and am on…

* Graduate and continue to work, albeit on a diminished scale and level of ambition.

* Life gets in the way and studio mentality, artistic work ethic slowly erodes to thoughts only and good intentions.

* Long periods of static inactivity ensue (artistically speaking).

* Waves of guilt follow and the thought of what could have been plague my thoughts and torment me at every turn. Resentment and self loathing set in as feelings of being cheated out of my lifelong passion – by myself.

* Sporadic and unambitious work begins in front of the TV as a way to occupy my free time.

* Long period of inactivity.

* Can no longer ward off feelings of guilt and failure with the added sense that my beloved degree years have amounted to nothing – intensified by a deeply unfulfilling job. (I will include the caveat that I have always been lucky and looked after in my 9-5 job working with mostly decent people).

* Tentatively begin to work again in the knowledge that I need to somehow climb the mountain to rebuild some kind of practice and work with a more ambitious set of outcomes. Not easy around a busy family and work life.

* Establish regular practice and discipline to work – lifelong passion reignites in a big way.

* Think long and hard about my approach to my situation and why I am in it. Take a long hard look at myself, urrgghh – and realise I can only even begin to dream of making this work if I am prepared to work – really work and stop living in a fantasy land in which I have managed to blame everything I have not achieved on outside circumstances and powers I cannot control.

* Slowly begin to work on slightly more ambitious pieces – realising that for me raising the bar is like a canal lock – it must be done slowly to maintain integrity.

* Establish an actual studio and see work develop at a pace that rivals the degree development (in my book a period in an artist life where things change with intense rapidity before settling into a stride)

* I’m now in a position where I have a modest studio, a website and made several sales along with the confidence to apply to exhibit work. Whilst I can hardly call myself a success where my art is concerned – for me and my journey I am moving in the right direction.

After that digression I now consider myself to be an artworks outsider – I basically have no art world connections and no real interactions with other artists, I am for all intents and purposes making my work alone, but you know what? I’m completely okay with that right now. I am working hard and constantly making work I am proud of. That to me is the most important thing – the constant and ever changing love of art.

Thanks as always for reading.

http://www.stuartbelton.com

 

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This piece is the initial stages of a new drawing, I have made several smaller sketches in the last few days so have decided to go large and see what happens.
A thought crossed my mind earlier, my work trades a lot with repetition, I routinely spend endless hours in a state of concentration repeating a form over and over again. These small, simple forms interact with one another and develop into a much larger mass. I have always worked from a “base” of ideas in mind but allowed the drawing to build itself using this base as a springboard only. This led my to think that my drawing practice is not so much about the actual image and its content but actually about what that particular form allows me to think about whilst the pen is in motion. What does the image spilling out in front of me
Remind me of?  Does it fit with my base ideas – if not, how is it informing and updating them? There’s no doubt about it that within these often small and delicately detailed drawings lays a machismo where I pit my nerve and my patience against the possibility of failiure in terms of not realising the drawing to its conclusion.

Drawing to me is becoming as much about the thought whilst in flow as the finished drawing itself.

I have toyed with the idea (only in thought to be honest) about using these thoughts and images that my mind conjures to create other drawings that are in a sense totally abstract and removed from what I normally do. I am talking about bringing figurative elements into my work – maybe even full figuration to be displayed along the works from which these ideas came.

Needless to say I am only in the very earliest stages of this potential new route but to my mind it is going to be worth exploring as it could add an interesting dimension to my practice.
I would definitely consider beginning a regime to develop and sharpen very rusty observational drawing skills – maybe an hour a day would be manageable with my current life/ workload. The thing is I am a certain type of artist that does a certain type of drawing, to diversify I would need to accept a different skill base and approach would need to be learnt…actually quite an exciting thought since I haven’t drawn anything from observation in the best part of ten years.

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Incidently one massive benefit of reflective writing such as a blog is it incubates ideas and open doors that drawing alone would probably not of opened. Get writing and enjoy the benefits!
Anyway, I must dash. Thank you as always for reading my splurges of thought.