Well I said I wasn’t going to beat myself but until this week I had missed a week of drawing. However on Sunday I did a pencil drawing of an elephant candle holder and last night I did two drawings. I have started a small piece of tapestry weaving on a wire frame and discovered that one of my Indian wooden combs was just perfect to tamp, not sure of the correct term, down the weft. However when I laid it down I liked the composition that it created on my desk and so decided to draw it, as it was. The first drawing is on the back of this piece of paper which is why there is a bit of masking tape in the image. I like working in long narrow landscape shapes and to get the length I wanted I cut a page out and added it to another page in the sketchbook which gave me the elongated shape I wanted. I used a 3B pencil for the first drawing, but these photographs are of a larger drawing done with Quink ink and a fine long handled brush. I then used a home-made drawing tool made of tooth picks sandwiched between pieces of card. This made really nice linear marks in the damp paper which I added to with a wash of diluted Quink ink. I really like using Quink ink. I usually use black Quink although blue would also work, but I find that black gives me a deep blue when it’s on paper used as a wash. When the drawing was dry I worked into it with some golden and ochre pastel chalk, used a white candle to make a rubbing which when washed with more almost ‘colourless’ colour left a subtle pattern. The final touch was a little bleach on the end of a kebab stick to highlight some details seen in the comb and the where the warp was wrapped round the weaving frame. Anyway here it is.
Last weekend I was in the beautiful Cotswolds for a workshop with the Textile Study Group. Led by two TSG members, Sian Martin and Penny Burnfield, we were challenged to reappraise our drawing habits. I have always enjoyed drawing but hold my hands up and acknowledge that over the last few years I have not spent as much time drawing as I once did. However after the weekend I am resolved to re-establish old habits and get drawing again. I do draw, but not the way I once did and I am keen to make it more of something I do every day, although that is maybe a tall order. I would like to be a ‘do a drawing a day’ girl and who knows it may happen. However I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I want to draw and enjoy it.
This first drawing was of a phlomis seed head but this one is of some of the lovely sunny coloured helenium I still have flowering in the garden. It was a deliberate decision not to spend very long drawing. I gave myself half an hour to put something down on paper and as the weeks pass I’ll post further attempts for you to see.
Our workshop made me think. Most of us agreed that the word ‘drawing’ is problematic. It can be difficult for people who think that all drawings have to look as if Michelangelo had lifted the pencil, but of course it couldn’t be further from the truth. As textile artists we can ‘draw’ in many ways that are meaningful for our practice and everyone will have their own way of putting marks on a surface. One question asked last weekend was ‘if a child trails a stick along a sandy beach and leaves a mark, is that a drawing?’ Well in a way it is but it is an unintentional drawing. Would you think that to be a drawing it has to be an intentional mark? I would be interested to hear what you think.