Categories
art drawing

sky drawing

I have been thinking that I’ll draw the sky. Somehow. Or maybe not draw, but at least work with. Start from a feeling of immersion. My main problem : that drawing immersion in sky is a crazy and difficult job, and I don’t know how.

I made an earth drawing instead today – from a video of the mountain. I’d taken the video last night on the way home, just after what would have been sunset, but since it was a cloudy and gloomy evening there was no colour, little light. The drawing needs more work – for me to approach closer to the feeling of last night, and to the evidence of the video. I need to make it fuzzier, less distinct; have less contrast, less interest, less resemblance.

The video is strange and obscure, technically dreadful. I think that what interests me so much about it is just that, its poor quality. I’ve found the outside boundary of the technology, and then crossed over it. The light levels have gone down beyond my camera’s processing capacity – it’s having a breakdown, it can’t find this in its programming, its changing its mind every half a second – what is air and what is objects, what is the appropriate focal distance, what is the space of the mountain? Things recede and return, in and out of focus, all is flattened and fuzzy. Our eyes break down at that light level too, we can’t trust what we see. But we’re better adapted than our phones – we still perceive and still keep some clarity; still retain something of three-dimensionality, the volume of the space, enough to navigate through it.

To return to my idea of drawing immersion in sky, my drawing is a drawing of a place that, because of its shape, is basically all round sky. So I think I can call it an atomosphere drawing, if not a sky drawing.

Categories
light photography

windows, sky

Today I made a new stencil shape based on the kitchen window of the cottage where I grew up, and used it to look up at the evening sky.

Categories
light Uncategorized

on hope

Exploring hope again.

So I am continuing work on my essay, writing about hope in the work of visual artists, but I’m also thinking about hope in my own work. How that might be.

I have started a short writing workshop , and have been introduced to a powerful poem by Denise Levertov, ‘For the New Year, 1981’, starting with the line

‘I have a small grain of hope-‘

The poet also compares hope to a piece from the root of an iris, where she says

‘Please share your fagment
so that yours will grow.

Only so, by division,
will hope increase’

Feeling my way towards the fine-grain texture of things, and the surprise of colour up close, and how that feels like hope.

For example, the flower of gorse in December, how a plant can flare up yellow in the grey-blue dusk light.

Categories
artists books light

a video fragment

A fragment of another book of the dark (video), made on Mynydd Llangyndeyrn.

There is something that I like very much about this one, it may be that what I like about it is that it is so deeply imperfect, to the point of awkward.

A bitter-sharp wind. My hands clumsy, numb fingers sticking out of fingerless gloves, feet stumbling as I was turning.

[To see the best of this video, it helps if you cut down the relflected light in your room].

Categories
drawing painting

acorns

drawing my pile of acorns today, before I plant them…

Categories
artists books light

book of the dark

what is a book of the dark?
having no idea how to answer this, I have made one
it is a test or a draft
a starting point for myself
something to work from

Categories
Uncategorized video

apple pie

a very short video clip to share

apple pie

still turning over in my mind the sorts of things I can do with videos of hands that are making

hands have their own intelligence, in making, and this is something that is worth drawing attention to

Categories
art artists books

intaglio printmaking process

I’m just starting working on something exciting with a small piece of scratched perspex that was in the shed. So I’ve washed it and written on it with a sharpie, and now I’m scratching marks into the other side.

I’m going to make artists books that go with writing that I am doing, that communicate the themes and thoughts in the writing – in visual and book-making terms.

So I need something to start with, because I need to start before I am ready – not wait.

Something like intaglio printmaking plates made out of perspex.

Its fair to say that it is very unlikely that anything really good will happen with prints from this piece of perspex – I mean, that what I make won’t work. But I won’t know why it hasn’t worked until I’ve done it and it hasn’t worked. And then I can try something else that doesn’t work either, but gets a tiny bit closer to working. And through doing that I can refine my ideas about what it is that I am trying to get to work.

Categories
art drawing

on drawing

I’ve been sitting at my desk for a lot of today, finding words about hope, and continuing with the reading that I am doing about the work of Joseph Beuys.

Sitting at my desk with my back to the large drawing I’ve started and not giving it any thought. It is behind me because I had nailed the paper to the only possible wall, right behind my desk. Charcoal dust all over the floor and the soles of my feet, all over the dog and the piles of books. Its not lovely…

And, turning around, it has to be said that overall this drawing is not pleasing to me. I am speaking about this here, in order to be honest with myself, and to express to myself, in front of you, that sometimes things look very difficult and messy, and there is no certainty at all that they will mean or be anything useful. And this is difficult. One becomes invested in a work, in a certain outcome. Or worse, having embarked on something without being able to see a way clear, one starts to lose faith that there is a way clear, or that the journey is justified at all.

I have no idea where I am going with this drawing. There are some things that are good about it, an energy and a rhythm in places. I am starting to imagine ways that it will become material that I can turn into a book, or perhaps the inside of a box. But I also feel certain that it will need more work first. More attention. And the possibility remains that it might never be useful at all.

Which reminds me that in the course of my research today, I did read Joseph Beuys in conversation on the process of creating, saying something that I found interesting about quality, and mistakes:

“So the criteria for something …. as to its quality, can again really only be discussed in direct relation to something, by circling around it a thousand times, looking at it and trying different things out. Above all, it becomes interesting when you’ve completed something and think it’s perfect; and then suddenly see that in fact it’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done. And then you have to rework it, in other words, correct it, and that’s particularly difficult. But it also has the enormous advantage that only now can you draw something out of it which never occurred to you as a possibility before, because it wasn’t at all visible. The mistake one makes in the first attempt can turn out to be an extraordinary gift as far as the work is concerned….. One learns an enormous amount from mistakes in particular, as long as one doesn’t tire too easily and say: Oh no, it’s no good – I’ll leave it and start something new. If one says: This mistake is something that I’m not just going to leave as it is, but I’ll make something of this mistake, which is much better than I originally envisaged…”

(From the book ‘What is Art’, Conversation with Joseph Beuys. Edited with essays by Volker Harlan, 2004).

Categories
art artists books

artists’ book

Working today on a folding book for my collaborative book project with Suzie Ross.