Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Media Profile

Today the opposite of tomato is 'Blue Bleezing Blind Drunk' *

Continuing the year's project of choosing random images from the print media as subject material from which to draw, one of the appeals of working from readymade, photographic sources is the absolution such a method grants from consideration of the issues of composition, design, space, etc & also the choice of ostensible ‘subject’ matter (although this aspect of the work’s appearance is in fact unimportant, the subject being, as ever, the process of drawing, mark-making, itself - the 'work' of art).

This image in particular offered interest in its strikingly cropped format & large area of ‘empty’ space. Such an image also highlights another such photographic standard as focus & thus presents a different challenge in terms of the technical rendering of space & distance to someone habitually used to working with the effective representation of objects arranged in three-dimensional space.

Original source: ‘The Times’ 23/01/08

Currently awaiting, with great anticipation, the arrival from Amazon of, amongst other items ordered, the CD 'The Bairns' by Rachel Unthank & the Winterset, from which a generous sample of four tantalizing tunes* of rare & quite astonishing quality are available to listen to at their MySpace page - do your ears & soul a favour by paying a visit.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Still Here...

Today the opposite of tomato is ‘5:55’

Drawing from photographic sources of course references the history of painting from photographs, over which Gerhard Richter casts a long shadow, given the substantial body of his work devoted to such interests.

This image then - illustrating an article from ‘The Guardian’ of Japan’s attempts to clamp down upon such ‘unacceptable’ habits amongst the country’s many cyclists as riding on footpaths & holding umbrellas, texting, listening to music players, etc, whilst riding - presented itself as suitable for use primarily due to the blurred background which immediately recalled Richter’s familiar, signature technique of raking a blur over numerous of his images. In this readymade state, it was interesting to replicate the blurring & to discover that the doing so required as much concentration & work as would representing a defined & detailed subject, the drawing - again ‘processed’ over a considerable amount of time & numerous sessions - thus contrasting sharply (no pun intended) with the split-second, frozen moment, snapshot nature of the original photograph.

Original source: ‘The Guardian’ 01/08

Similarly, a second photographic image of oriental origins & one of quite stunning beauty - this time of a Beijing swimmer captured diving into the freezing Houhai Lake - presented another perfect stilled moment for contemplation &, although the resulting drawing was completed in much less time, again illustrates the temporal & technical difference involved in the production - the ‘work’ of art - of each.

Graphite & putty eraser/21x30cm
Original source: ‘The Times’ 2, 16/01/08

Monday, January 21, 2008

Black (& White) Francis

Today the opposite of tomato is:
"a fountain of blood in the shape of a girl"

Presenting the third (to fifth) example of the drawing-from-photographic sources project.

The original of this image, illustrating a news story about the forthcoming Sotheby's auction of Francis Bacon's 'Triptych 1974-77', where it is expected to fetch a record price in excess of £25million, suggested itself in a number of ways.

Firstly, it depicts an artwork, which presents an interesting challenge in itself, in the 'copying of', of course related to the traditional manner employed by artists in learning from the Masters how to draw & paint by example.

Secondly, depicting the work specifically of Francis Bacon, a painter I've long admired, for his work & its sheer painterliness & also his philosophy of art, most fascinatingly chronicled in the book of David Sylvester's interviews with Bacon, 'The Brutality of Fact' (a must read for any aspiring artist).

Thirdly, it was an interesting photo to work from given that Bacon himself habitually used photographic images as the source material for his paintings, in terms of figure reference, colour, etc.

Added to this was the knowing nod by the photographer to Bacon's work in the form of the figure moving across the hung paintings, captured in a frozen blurred moment suggestive of movement, as Bacon's familiar technique itself implied.

Furthermore, the image presented the opportunity of being worked upon as a triptych (separately across 3 A4 sketchbook pages, with virtually no reference back to the preceding image(s) apart from very cursory measurements for placement purposes), echoing the form of the original, again a familiar Bacon method.


original image: Daily Telegraph 08/01/08

In a desperate attempt at attention-seeking & coming out of the wilderness that this resource represents, I've also been busy creating an account & gallery at the rather excellent online creative community deviantART, which, in terms of image content at least, will mirror that of this blodge. Hopefully, I shall be able to capitalise on the community aspect particularly & generate some form of creative dialogue, which is essential.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

More Drawing of 'Modern' Life

Today, the opposite of tomato is
“a painter with nothing left upstairs”

Presenting the second example of the drawing-from-photographic sources project.
Already, the time involved in such - at least employing a technique faithfully transcribing the appearance of the source - has resulted in the intention to produce a sketch-a-day taken from daily print media origins being refined to what will hopefully be a more manageable weekly production of same from a consequently wider array of available image stock.

Again, no agenda was in operation in the choice of image other than its ‘inspiring’ appearance & suitability for the project.
Accompanying an article in last Monday’s Guardian’s G2 section on contemporary society’s eating habits, it is nonetheless a most intriguing image, depicting a 1960s archetypal family sitting down together to enjoy what is claimed to be a home-prepared meal & having all the appearance in fact of a prime slice of 60s photorealistic painting.
I love the sheer artificiality of the composition & situation, the scene being so obviously posed in best advertising fashion, the frozen smiles, the ‘perfect’, desirable, spotless modern kitchen in which the ‘family’ sit, etc, & also the appearance of the image itself, so redolent of 1960s proto-colour photographic reproductions, the ‘washed-out’, pastelly colour, the sense of the image almost being hand-tinted. Therefore, all things considered, it seemed a classic image to transcribe.

Again, I was struck by the abstract, detached nature of the drawing process, of mark-making on a very specific local level, concentrating upon the rendering of subtle tonal alterations across the surface of the source material to cumulative effect that almost accidentally resolves itself into a representational image, very much as an afterthought.


Also returning to the last of the autumn's quinces, recently revealed to the world after the japonica had shed its leaves & thus requisitioned for modelling purposes.


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Drawing of Modern Life

Today the opposite of tomato is
" Like some weird porno philosophy, making us a grand apostrophe".

Two coincidences conspiring to inspire what might be a new line of creative exploration. Currently reading the catalogue from the recent Hayward Gallery exhibition 'The Painting of Modern Life' which features the work of painters using photographic source material & covers the period 'the 1960s to now', including such varied artists as Gerhard Richter, Andy Warhol, Luc Tuymans, Peter Doig, Vija Celmins, Richard Hamilton & Elizabeth Peyton amongst others.

Never having personally worked from photographic sources previously, it's nonetheless a fascinating subject - considering the work of another painter such as Chuck Close for example & the interesting relationship his ideas had to minimalism, the work being born of such a concept - made all the more so by the essays contained within the catalogue, accompanying the reproduced images. The conceptual underpinning of some of this work coupled with the appeal of the highly topical photographic source chanced upon in one of New Year's Day's tabloid newspapers thus proved sufficient inspiration to make the drawing reproduced here, which proved an interesting experiment particularly in the manner in which the subject all but disappeared during the process of drawing, the image being reduced to an abstract arrangement of tones each of equal 'all-over' importance that eventually resolved themselves into a reproduction of the subject-image content, itself no more important to the whole than the blank white lower third of the page-image...


(01 Jan 08) Snappy New Year

Today the opposite of tomato is feeling sinister.

00:50am, New Year's Day & a most inauspicious start to the year, drying the wine glass with whose red contents I'd just toasted the new year & which had provided sterling service over a period of some time, its stem snapped accidentally in my hand...well, at least it 'inspired' the first sketch of 2008 the morning after.

graphite 21x30cm

(28 Dec '07) Still Rolling Along...

Today the opposite of tomato is 'Waiting for the Miracle'.

Continuing with the cardboard tubes, this time incorporating a taller one from a kitchen roll, & still absorbed (no pun intended) with their mute abjection, so unassuming in terms of colour too, making them almost the perfect subjectless subject for formal exploration...

both graphite/21x30cm

These sketches made to the accompaniment of the recently acquired 'The Essential Leonard Cohen', noble & magnificent & endlessly fascinating, creating the perfect ambience in which to pursue one's own creative endeavours.