Thursday, September 27, 2012

Seventies Style

Today the Opposite of Tomato is 'Automatically Yours'

graphite & putty eraser/30x20cm

Considering what a nigglingly slow month September has been here at TOoT, following a pleasingly productive few months’ practice, it’s something of a relief to be able to present this latest drawing, processed from the source of an enlarged photocopy taken from a photograph as printed in the ‘Official Football League Yearbook 1972 – 73’ of a delightful image, circa 1971, the subject of which features a young Kevin Keegan, pictured quite possibly just after having joined Liverpool during the May of that year, in the company of his manager Bill Shankly: Shankly had achieved something of iconic status with his achievements with Liverpool over the course of the previous decade, & Keegan was then on the cusp of doing similarly in the Seventies, transcending the confines of football/sport in the process to the extent of indulging in singing & advertising 'careers'.
Coincidentally, Kevin Keegan also played a central role in the first football match in which I ever took an interest, scoring twice for Liverpool in their comprehensive 3 - 0 victory over Newcastle United in the 1974 FA Cup Final, which televisual experience I immediately processed into drawing, as mentioned previously when I began this year's sequence of football-themed drawings back in February.
As ever, the magical attraction of the original image is to be found in the charm of its period details, which now seem to provide an undeniable sense of comfort: Keegan’s fashionable hairstyle, extravagant sideburns & tank top in particular, but also Shanks’s macintosh raincoat, which any number of managers (& the Prime Minister Harold Wilson) seemed to sport back in the day.

Subsequent pictorial research has led to the discovery online of another image from the photo-shoot that produced the source for the drawing, but this one in colour, adding substance to one’s imaginings based upon the monochrome ‘original’: interesting to observe that Kev was sporting a most harmonious & rather fetching ensemble of various hues & tones of blue (slightly disappointingly, as one dreams of the tank top’s stripes being multi-coloured, in the manner of Paul McCartney’s psychedelic number from The Beatles‘Magical Mystery Tour’ film, as disinterred for reappraisal in Tuesday’s ‘Guardian’), along with – oh yes – those classic heels, & also that Shanks’s shirt (rather than pony) is a surprisingly dandyish pale pink – not necessarily unusual for the man, though, as one seems to recall him wearing shirts of various colours, such as orange, & red, on other occasions, an old school figure who could still swing with the times.




The ‘should have been’ is obviously Kevin Keegan’s "Head Over Heels in Love" (blimey, those weren’t necessarily the days) & The Smiths’ wonderful, mordant ‘Frankly, Mr Shankly’, but, in actuality, we instead indulged in the mellow sounds of Lambchop’s ‘Is a Woman’ & then, by way of variety, The Pastels’ equally enduringly-wonderful ‘Up For a Bit With…’, before, continuing, a late night session devoted to the drawing process was accompanied by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds' ‘The Boatman’s Call’, returning to a more reflective mood appropriate to the hour.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Old School #4

coloured pencil & putty eraser/20x30cm

Presenting what has eventually resolved itself, over the period of a couple of months in a new slow-mo record even for TOoT, into the fourth of what has become the occasional series of drawings based upon imagery sourced from Old School Panini of scans of collectable stickers of French footballers circa 1976, the particular attraction of the chosen ones being the impressive moustaches they are seen to be sporting in their portrait photographs, of which the subject Jean-Pierre Posca(‘s) is another fine example.

As with the previous drawings in this series, this one was processed with immediate visual reference to an A4 colour print of the digitally scanned image from the original sticker print: again, a certain loss of pictorial fidelity is experienced by the time this physical point is reached, not least in terms of an apparent artificiality of colour, which informs the appearance of the drawing.

The inveterate & inevitable light research the portrait subject, any little facts & figures or anecdotes that provide something of a hinterland behind the purely visual, has on this occasion revealed that, sadly, Jean-Pierre Posca, a fondly-regarded stalwart of Sochaux, in common with some of the group of 1970-ish English footballers portrayed in graphite earlier this year, died what might be regarded as being rather young, having passed away on New Year’s Day of 2010, again emphasizing the melancholy inherent in the photographic image, & perhaps too the drawing process, communicating the passing of time as it records & preserves it in physical form.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Country House Living...

A weekend jaunt into Mid-Wales facilitated an unexpected encounter with some rather fine art, of an early 20th century vintage & being the personal collection of the late Sir Bernard Ashley, as hung on various of the walls of Llangoed Hall.

How pleasant it was to encounter, over the fireplace of the Drawing Room, whilst enjoying a welcome pot of tea after the journey, & have the opportunity to study & admire a landscape (above) by FCB Cadell (one assumes of Iona, given the similarity of the depicted scene to others painted in the same location by the artist) & discovering in the Games Room during a later stroll around the house, a portrait of a rather dandy top-hatted gentleman (below) by another of the so-called 'Scottish Colourists', JD Fergusson.

Also to be seen were a number of drawings, including an Augustus John nude study (below) &, although they were inaccessible due to an event, alas, a suite numbering over 20 by Whistler.

There was also work by familiar names such as Sickert, Harold Gilman, & Laura Knight, & a collection of fine oil portraits in that painterly ‘Sargentesque’ Edwardian style, including, below, this dark study of a life-sized gentleman, by Hermann Murphy, hanging on the wall by the door to A’s & my room – all in all, a most aesthetic treat.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Drawing on Memory...

coloured pencil & putty eraser/20x30cm

Following on from a recent post extolling the virtues of the live sound, as experienced, of Vic Godard & Subway Sect, I was thus inspired, albeit somewhat after the fact (but that, in ‘slow’ mode, is the habitual TOoT way), to seek out a photographic image of Vic from which to process a drawing in appreciative recognition of having enjoyed such entertainment & the great man’s talents.

Emerging, then, from the plethora of marks made, with coloured pencil (a quite recalcitrant & thus more labour-intensive medium than most, but of course it’s all about the work of art), the drawing process results in a representation of the figure of Vic Godard in performance, with guitar, the form of his face described colourfully spot- & high-lit in the manner of the Expressionist portraits of Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, for example – the whole image, indeed, being saturated with an intensity of artificial hues, which feature informs the (endeavours of the) drawing in turn.

Regarding, incidentally, matters of sartorial style, it might be noted that Vic is seen here favouring what might be described as the artist-known-as-TOoT’s signature style or traditional dress, on or off-duty, of shirt, tie & V-necked jumper: old school (as in 'worn from the time of') but always on the money.


With a musical subject providing grist to the drawing mill, it seems most appropriate to reactivate the old 'Soundtrack' feature that has traditionally attached itself to many a post, having been rather remiss in letting the acknowledgement of such habitual & integral accompaniment to the drawing process slide & pass unremarked. For the drawing in question, then, across the course of the various sessions devoted to, we have been listening to, with a few old favourites included (although, despite the presence of a couple of post-punk peers, not actually any Vic Godard & Subway Sect) & making a reappearance:

Scritti Politti ‘White Bread Black Beer’
Belle & Sebastian ‘Write About Love’
Wire ‘The A List’
She & Him ‘Volume Two’
Laura Veirs ‘Year of Meteors’