I've just commenced my next drawing.
The initial concept came from a drawing in one of my journals that refers to my personal struggle with creating work and generating new ideas. But it is also a direct link to the Australian artist Brett Whitely, one of my artistic heroes, who referred to his "affliction", that is being born with a gift that had to be honoured. He had no choice in the matter. Whitely called Art "the difficult pleasure". One can speculate whether it ultimately cost him his life.
There are times when I feel I am a slave to the image. There is always an enormous internal struggle to honour, to create and to entertain the muse within. A week without making a mark on paper, is to feel the itch within the fingertips take hold. Something has to be made, and what that is isn't always obvious.
This new work honours those times.
The brown Kraft paper (205gsm) is 2 meters wide and 1200cm high,
and is taped to a large sheet of plaster board left over from building the house.
The drawing is drafted out in Mars Lumograph 7B pencil.
It's a rich matt black that doesn't shine, therefore complimenting the flat charcoal to come.
I work from a photo I take of myself, but I'm not a slave to it.
I draw quickly so as to encourage the subtle distortions that are a key to my work.
After the initial drawing, I add the black tonal components with Pitt compressed extra soft charcoal.
The titanium white soft pastel is then worked into this. Some areas are left raw, while others are blended.
Not all of the design is fully conceived yet. There are a lot of serendipitous moments, and long periods sitting in chair with a coffee and staring at the work. Ideas suggest themselves as I go, and final designs are adjusted according to the needs of the work.
(Is it too black. Too white. No flow or rhythm. Components that can't be "read". The need for detail and patterns. Awkward shapes that don't fit. The story looses track, irrelevant components etc etc.)
At these moments, everything is right in the universe.
"When you are working,
everybody is in your studio -
the art world,
and above all,
your own ideas are all there.
But as you continue painting,
they start to leave one by one,
and you are left completely alone.
Then if you are lucky,
even you leave."