Tuesday, August 31, 2010


For once, a rare & welcome glorious day upon which to find another example of 'roadkill' (& rather neatly vertically compressed, at that) nestling upon a stretch of the double black lines, all looking resplendent in the sunshine, not least the texture of the tarmac, providing, in the broader overview of the scene as framed, a particularly aesthetically pleasing 'tactile space', contrasting nicely with the smoothly painted parallel lines...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Another of Life's 'Little Essentials'...

Presenting the latest absolutely must-have purchase (purely for research purposes, of course), Deanna Petherbridge's substantial volume 'The Primacy of Drawing', which initially came to attention via this article by Adrian Searle in The Guardian on the subject of a recent exhibition devoted to drawing.

Subtitled 'Histories and Theories of Practice', this most attractive book presents a trans-historical survey of predominantly Western drawing as both a discrete area of artistic endeavour & as inextricably linked to other forms of visual art & design, lavishly illustrated with examples of many of the masters & also rehabilitating some of those artists whom time might have forgotten or come to disregard.

The volume appears, upon browsing, a fascinating history of ideas (drawing often being the initial (re)presentation of, of course) & practical developments from the Renaissance to contemporary concerns, with its chapters featuring many an intriguing sub-heading, & seems destined, once engaged with seriously, to become a compelling & thought-provoking companion to one's personal drawing process.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

More Small Things...

Off the road again today, but still a pair of found objects provide the subject matter for what became a pair of drawings, the support relating to the somewhat papery nature of the objects' constitution...

graphite & putty eraser/30x20cm

graphite & putty eraser/30x20cm

The obvious fascination with small things (& structure) continues, there's something about such that inspires an intensity of contemplative looking that, as ever, one endeavours to represent through the simultaneous activity of the drawing process.

Thanks are due to D & L for finding & kindly presenting the objects, at the point of departure following a visit to the Greenfield Valley, an old haunt that, during the period some years ago of living in closer proximity to, & in a state of dereliction prior to being developed into the heritage resource it now is, was habitually utilized in the interests of the daily practice of drawing. Somewhere in storage are sketchbooks filled with the results of such, comprising many an aspect & details of...


Test Match Special England v Pakistan
3rd Test, days 2 & 3

Thursday, August 26, 2010


graphite, putty eraser, wax crayon & watercolour/30x20cm

Continuing the sequence of watercolour drawings constructed around the subject/object matter of the found 'roadkill' cans, the particular featured example of which has previously had its reverse face represented in similar form.

Again, the framework of the formal composition incorporates explicit, complementary horizontal & vertical elements, with here the addition of a few broader, bolder strokes of yellow, intended specifically to echo & relate to the yellow band of the design of the can's branded identity, as the object exists within the continuum of the overall 'tactile space' of the surface/ground.


Emily Jane White 'Dark Undercoat'
The Chasms 'Advance Paranoia, Advance'
Moon Wiring Club 'Striped Paint for the Last Post'
Charlotte Gainsbourg '5:55'

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Second Coming...

Another representation of the 'roadkill' object as featured in photographic form, as found, in the preceding post of yesterday, this time via the medium of the latest in the sequence of watercolour drawings of such subject/object matter...

graphite, putty eraser, wax crayon & watercolour/30x20cm

As with recent developments in this series, the ground or 'tactile space' in which the object is embedded features horizontal & vertical structural elements, appropriated from the physical sites of the road surfaces upon which the source material is invariably found, that geometrically complement each other, the short, horizontal brushstrokes that construct & comprise the explicitly layered surface & also the sequence of diagonals into which the object has been reformed: all of these various compositional devices are intended to make fond reference to Braque's & Picasso's Cubism, further enhanced by the picture's colouration, predominantly grey with 'earthy' additions, with such an object as that represented being proposed as appearing as a 'readymade' example of such, especially so as it features an element of text in the form of a synecdochal fragment of its brand name & identity, in the tradition of many an example of the Cubist pictorial composition.
In further homage to aspects of (Greenbergian) Modernist painting, the horizontals & verticals also relate to the physical limits of the picture plane, of course, which subsequently developed into microcosmic concerns of the formal device of the grid, another form of which is playfully made compositional reference to here.

On a techical point, a pleasing aspect that may be observed in this particular picture is the preservation, more so than has often been the case, of visible evidence of the underdrawing, as a further textural, 'tactile' element of the mark-making process of the whole, beneath the transparent layers of the touches of watercolour.


Test Match Special England v Pakistan
3rd Test, days 2 & 3

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Fine Find

More 'roadkill' as found upon a stretch of the local double black lines, thus pictorially framed, & with this instance providing a delightfully fine example of the proposed designation 'Readymade Cubism', rearranged as this object is into a compact sequence of overlapping folded planes & also displaying a bold synecdochal fragment of its brand name, that relates well to Cubism's use of text in such forms.
Again, the colour scheme is predominantly monochrome, with the greys of the road surface & painted lines upon it, & the silver & black livery of the object, enlivened with touches of yellow & gold (which itself lends itself to referential comparisons with Braque's & Picasso's Cubism in its 'Analytical-Hermetic' phase, where ochre is habitually combined with the range of greys that constitute the form's rigorously reduced palette.

Note just how the object is positioned upon the painted line, & guided by the lightly scored line within, as though with mathematical precision...

Given such formal qualities, & unusually for the photographed objects, which are mostly left in situ as found, it was decided that, having already performed a pictorial function, this was a find worth keeping for future reference.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Subtractions & an Addition...

A further compositional reappraisal of the found fruit, once more observed contre jour in the habitual manner in order to attempt the challenge of representing both the subtleties of the translucent objects' luminosity & the play of light-as-colour upon their surfaces, & also a sense of their form...

graphite & watercolour/30x20cm


Test Match Special England v Pakistan
3rd Test, day 1

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Both Sides of the Story...

Another example of aluminium can 'roadkill' found upon a stretch of the local double black lines road markings with, also in this particular instance, a pleasingly 'formal' arrangement of the various compositional aspects of the patchwork of the road surface itself, assisting the process of pictorial framing &, with the additional presence of vertical lines to complement the dominant horizontals, thus relating serendipitously to the recent developments within the sequence of 'roadkill' watercolour drawings.

Given the absence of much colour detail visible upon the surface of the flattened object, the consequently monochromatic nature of the whole is another noteworthy aspect of the overall aesthetic.

An Update: Things Looking Up...

A short passage of time leads one to find that the 'roadkill' object has been subject to one of those delightful feats of motion as may on successive occasions be observed, here performing a pretty neat flip to reveal its other face, which, if one reads the brand name literally, might be assumed to be its upside..!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Taking Things Sloe-ly Again...

graphite, putty eraser & watercolour/30x20cm

Another subtle readjustment of the relative postions of the found fruit, in the interests of establishing different spatial intervals & thus the compositional 'dynamic', considered both as a whole & in terms of the Uglowian 'charges' between individual objects.

As with the first of this sequence of watercolour drawings, the objects, again observed contre jour in order for the flux of available light to pass through their translucent forms, to preserve as much of their luminosity as possible, are represented within the context of the 'envelope' of their spatial continuum, the 'halo' of the highlit upper semicircle of their circumferences carved out of the ground against which they appear, in an attempt to render both an 'allover' lateral composition that draws attention to the process of making whilst suggesting something of the three-dimensional form of the fruit existing in a shallow recessional space.


The Go-Betweens 'Oceans Apart', 'The Friends of Rachel Worth'
& 'Bright Yellow, Bright Orange'

How pleasant to proved wrong, courtesy of an enjoyably worthwhile listen to the Go-Betweens' valedictory 'Oceans Apart', which had been regarded unfavourably in the past &, indeed, consigned to obscurity for what must have been over four years: finely-crafted work, if not necessarily reaching the glorious zenith of much of the bands' earlier incarnation, & bearing the the undeniable stamp of quality of Messrs Forster & McLennan.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Still in the Sloe Lane...

graphite, putty eraser & watercolour/30x20cm

Minor adjustments to the found objects afford a second fruitful exploration of their forms & hues, attempting to achieve the former by virtue of close observation & hopefully something-like faithful representation of the latter, with, again, the contre jour setting presenting the opportunity of such a challenge & preserving the glorious luminosity of the translucent fruits which lends itself to the medium (or, indeed, vice versa).


Cat Power 'You Are Free'
Jesca Hoop 'Hunting My Dress'
& 'Kismet'

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sloe-ing Things Down

graphite & watercolour/30x20cm

A little seasonal adjustment & change of object matter today, although, maintaining a shred of integrity, the items of small fruit that provide the subject(s) happen to have been found, encountered as habitual during the course of one's perambulations-about-town, scattered along a stretch of pavement & kerbside, upon which they & numerous others had fallen, naturally from their lofty perches.

Returned home, the objects were scattered as casually as they had previously fallen, upon the 'studio' windowsill, to be then contemplated, in the interests of representation, & thus accordingly slightly rearranged into something of a composition, with certain spatial intervals, etc..
Following a light pencil sketching-in-place, the application of colour began, taking care to try as far as possible to render the vibrancy of the range of colours & also preserve the luminosity of the fruits, seen at its best as the objects were being observed 'contre jour', with what available light there was filtering, glowing through their translucent forms: this is something I often find attractive, for the challenge such presents in attempting to communicate a sense of form - a three-dimensional representation is more easily achieved if the object(s) in question are being thrown into light & shade by a light source raking-in from the side, obviously.
As the painting progressed, it became necessary in this instance to represent the objects within the spatial continuum in which they were being observed, from which they stood out yet existed within, particularly as the grey backdrop heightened the complementary hues of the fruits & caused the edges of their forms (from which ground they are 'carved') to appear, in places, to vibrate - in the manner of the flux of Cezanne's 'envelope' of light & air - however still the objects themselves might be: indeed, whilst the reflections behind the fruit suggest spatial recession, they somehow fuse with the objects themselves to render such depth unstable. Further to this, the reflective surface of the windowsill upon which the objects sit allows the scope to represent them a third time, adding another element to the overall surface dynamic.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Today the opposite of tomato is 'three and tuppence ha'penny'

graphite, putty eraser, wax crayon & watercolour/30x20cm

Another found 'roadkill' object &, thus, another representation processed in the form of a watercolour drawing, the predominant preferred media combination of recent developments.

Continuing the formal dialogue between horizontal & vertical elements, which, making reference to the tarmacked road surfaces - & a particular local feature thereof, which affords the utilization of tonal subtleties - upon which the objects are habitually found, complement both each other & the sequence of diagonal folds into which the represented object has been reformed (the whole performing a playful little homage to Cubism, of which the 'roadkill' objects might be proposed & regarded as being 'readymade' examples, this specifically a particularly fine one, by way of further art-historical reference).

Also making a return as a compositional element in this watercolour is the formal device of an outline of the 'roadkill' object, a second representation, as habitually featured in the 'diptych' series of drawings, which, in this instance, functions also as a visual reference to the occasional positional movement of some of the 'roadkill', as found on consecutive encounters & photographed accordingly (please refer to previous entries for such documentary evidence).

Sunday, August 08, 2010

More Grate Stuff...

Following-on from the immediately previous watercolour drawing, & continuing with the current general concerns of the explicit statement of horizontal & vertical formal elements within the composition, which complement both each other & also the sequence of diagonals into which the objects have invariably been reformed, on this occasion incorporating a more dominant 'approximate' representation of a drainage grid, & the rust-patinated barred grating of, embedding the 'roadkill' object within such formal device, in the manner of one such object found resting upon & framed in a recent photograph...

graphite, putty eraser, wax crayon & watercolour/30x20cm

Currently reading Matthew Simms' 'Cezanne's Watercolors: Between Drawing and Painting' & amongst many an interesting point as raised in the text, one such concerns the 'tactility' of the artist's facture, originally as applied to considerations of his oil painting (Merleau-Ponty writes of the kinaesthetic intertwining of the optical & the tactile in Cezanne's painting), but also much in evidence in the watercolours (to which I must admit a particularly deep & abiding attachment), where the discrete brushstrokes retain their individual identity & character even when repeatedly overlaid across the continuum of the picture surface.
Simms argues that, in Cezanne's watercolours, with their obvious division of labour, drawing performs the 'tactile' function & watercolour the optical in the ongoing formal dialogue between the two, but, personally, Cezanne's application of watercolour alone is itself both tactile & optical, explicity so through the manner in which the vibrant hues of the paint is applied in, generally, small touches of the brush that dry, become fixed, undeniably as such.
Obviously, this explicit record of process is also very much a personal concern, hence the technique of deliberate small brushstrokes - that also pay a certain referential homage to Braque's & Picasso's Cubist 'stippling' - employed in the facture of this particular series of watercolour drawings, & also the general commitment to the mark-made nature of my surfaces as has been carried out in the drawings presented here at TOoT over the last few years.
Braque it was, indeed, who spoke of the representation of 'tactile spaces' (as perceived) in his painting (which one might relate to Cezanne's 'envelope' of light & atmosphere surroundings objects, features of the landscape, etc), & such has long been a subject of much fascination to me, being that which connects artist & spectator in a profoundly human & philosophical manner.


Test Match Special England v Pakistan
2nd Test, days 2 & 3

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Lost & Found Department

A couple of most visit-worthy websites have popped-up on the radar of late, the first in particular by virtue of the occurrence of a most serendipitous moment.

Whilst indulging in what was quite a rare moment of late-night channel-hopping, I chanced upon the movie 'In Search of a Midnight Kiss': although a recent production, its black & white aesthetic arrested the attention enough to pause a while, during which time the narrative progressed to a point where the female character of the featured on-screen perambulating couple had her attention arrested by the finding of a single abandoned shoe, which object she proceeded to photograph, at the same time informing her male companion that she posted such images on her very own website, appropriately named 'thelostshoeproject.com'.
Although the film was soon to prove itself otherwise unengaging enough to warrant much further viewing, alas, still this incident remained in the memory - as well it might, given subject matter having a certain affinity with concerns & happenings here at TOoT, of course - & further research was carried out as soon as appropriate thereafter, resulting in the finding of a website bearing the very same name, The Lost Shoe Project.

There seems to have been a little debate generated amongst some of those similarly intrigued as to whether this particular internet resource bears any relation to the movie ('factual' opinion & cited evidence most likely confirming an affirmation of such), but nonetheless, the website features a selection of engaging images of single, abandoned found objects of a footwear nature, of a variety of types, many of which have been beautifully, most aesthetically photographed - one assumes more or less as discovered, encountered - upon roadsides, in the gutters, on verges, adjacent to roads & their familiar surfaces, very much in the manner of the those examples of discarded aluminium can 'roadkill' as frequently appear photographically here on TOoT.

There's a sense that, particularly if it owes its existence to some form of movie tie-in, & as evidenced by the mere 20-odd images in its gallery, 'The Lost Shoe Project' website is frozen in its specific time, its development arrested & forever in abeyance, which seems a great shame given the scope such subject/object matter offers, but still it remains of some interest, not least 'affinitively', both visually & conceptually.
Shoes obviously seem more intriguing when found abandoned, particularly singly & missing the counterpart, that other, that comprises their pair, given the comparitive scarcity of such discoveries, & more poignant too, considering their human dimension, than do ubiquitous examples of the discarded packaging of consumables, but still one might claim some form of kinship.

Such thoughts of abandoned shoes, or at least images of, cause me return to another theme that, having recentlyish been found at The Affected Provincial's delightfully whimsical online journal (& more particularly this entry), has continued to percolate slowly.
Having last summer invested-in, enjoyed & subsequently written on the subject of Guy Maddin's idiosyncratic movie 'The Saddest Music in the World', my curiosity was thus, of course, instantly aroused by the concept of 'The Saddest Object in the World', as proposed by Evan Michelson.

Now, given a found shoe's potential capacity to inspire a 'Proustian involuntary memory', of some significant profundity, perhaps, & also to come under aesthetic consideration for the purposes of critique, such an object might indeed aspire to the condition of being the saddest of its kind, one might say.
The 'roadkill' cans, alas, for all their abandoned status, accident-prone nature & abject appearance, seem unlikely - even to one such as yours truly, having established an intense, prolonged working relationship with the genre & the individual instances of - to ever belong to such a rarified category: their purpose is purely functional, they do not inspire an emotional response, even if they might be considered aesthetic objects.
So what then might be 'the saddest object in the world'..?

But, we digress...the second intriguing website to which I was alerted (by, for the nth occasion, Mr Reynolds' wonderful blissblog) happened to be (again, one might see the rather obvious attraction to an inveterate & indeed incorrigible finder of objects) none other than
Found Objects, which subtitularly claims for itself to be a 'hauntological dumping ground', as indeed appears very much the case: all manner of visual material of various vintages that might stir a memory or two of the personal & communal cultural past is constantly being updated in great & fascinating profusion. A subject very much to become lost in (thoughts of), as occurs often: when, for instance, one might consider the hauntological implications of the tagline of the 'Yesterday' TV channel - 'where the past is always present', which could have certain spooky connotations amongst other things, as one is enjoyably reminded of aspects of one's own televisual past &/or gently educated in aspects of the general socio-culture.

On the general subject of hauntology, one might appropriate such a phrase & concept as 'where the past is always present' into the process of making art, where any piece of work, or indeed every mark, might be loaded with reference to or evoke spectres from the history of: some of us could reasonably be charged with rather enjoying & indeed encouraging such...

Friday, August 06, 2010

Further to...

Continuing the development of aspects of both the recent hand-made & photographic images...

graphite, putty eraser, wax crayon & watercolour/30x20cm

With the emphasis again on elements of horizontal & vertical structure within which to situate the represented 'roadkill' object, the incorporation of a suggestion, an approximation, of the bars & spatial 'voids' of the grating of a drainage grid (as have been photographed in proximity to examples of the familiar double black lines with attendant 'roadkill' as found) into the composition creates a substantial complement to the habitual use of short horizontal brushstrokes of translucent watercolour layered across the picture plane & constructing the surface/'ground' & strengthens the general framework.
Such a formal device allows also - with reference to the rust-patinated nature of the cast-iron of which such objects are manufactured - the addition of colouristic detail that might recall another vague affinity with Cubist painting (& more specfically, as ever, that of Braque & Picasso), with its use of earthy hues (although perhaps more typically ochres rather than sienna) along with & thus complementing the silver-greys of the archetypical reduced palette, & collage too, with its use of pasted papers that, in certain cases, have aged to a certain 'smoked' appearance.
The touches of colour, whilst relating closely to particular 'local' forms, are granted a certain licence to float freely (in a 'significant' manner, one might claim!) over each other & thus exist in & for themselves, to retain an individual integrity, which the deliberate facture of the surface is intended to emphasize.
The item of 'roadkill', presenting simultaneous views of the top, base & fragments of the sides of the object as it does, both in itself & as represented, thus displays its familiar credentials as an example of 'Readymade Cubism', a designation-for-consideration oft proposed here at TOoT).


Mark Mulcahy 'In Pursuit of Your Happiness'
Lambchop 'Is a Woman'
Test Match Special
England v Pakistan
2nd Test, day 1

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Night-Time Manoeuvres

At least, that being the assumption based upon the available day-to-day visual evidence. Whatever, certain positional developments had taken place overnight, as, this morning, yesterday's example of 'roadkill' was to be found resting upon the grid itself, having moved along the course of the double black lines from its original resting place adjacent to the right of (as photographed).

Again, a pleasing & serendipitous arrangement that, in addition to allowing the grid to be composed more deliberately within the picture frame, might well provide inspiration to be translated into the representational form of drawing & painting, given the current concern with horizontal & vertical structure.

As noted on the previous occasion this particular grid featured in a 'roadkill' pictorial composition, the printing-like 'shift in register' of the most recent application of the 'black' lines allows, in the case of the lower of the parallel pair, an excellent 'archaeological' appreciation of each of the three layers of paint, the historical process of such, to the immediate left of the grating...

Such findings & recordings of the movements of objects recall a plot device in Tom Robbins' fabulous novel 'Skinny Legs and All', enjoyed some years ago now, where apparently inanimate objects (of an odd assortment including a sock, a can of beans & a painted stick) are, through the process of molecular agitation, actually possessed with the power of locomotion & thus capable of undertaking a great odyssey, with much philosophizing along their way. There's also art (& the mocking of the pretensions of the world of) in there too, along with politics & religion & a marvellous array of characters (in addition to the objects): a most potent brew, & a must-read-again. Soon.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Serendipity on the Road...

Once more the perambulations present a find of the familiar 'roadkill' upon a stretch of the local double black lines, &, even better, in close-enough proximity to a drainage grid to be captured together within the same pictorial frame.
The grid feature, as occasionally occurs in conjunction with the cans-as-found, seems at this time especially apt, given its bold structural quality, in relation to the 'roadkill' drawing & painting's recent developmental incorporation of deliberate horizontal & vertical compositional devices, of course: such serendipity is always to be embraced.

Note the visual correspondence between the barred form of the the drainage grating & the barcode upon the surface of the can: all things we can work with, here...