Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Nine Standards and their 'facelift'.

Gouache on paper, 2002

I was watching the Julia Bradbury series of Wainwright's Coast to Coast Walk on DVD. It was really good to see so many places I well remember from my own walking of the C to C in 1999. However the 'tidying up' of the Nine Standards near Kirkby Stephen left me feeling a little dismayed. I much preferred them in a roughened up state of strange, weather-beaten forms rather than the neat and tidy, 'artistic' and sculptural arrangements that they are now in. Will humans never leave well alone!? You can see 'before' and 'after' aerial pics here.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Finding old work anew.

It's always a pleasant surprise to rummage through boxes and desk drawers and uncover old work that I had totally forgotten about. Seeing it with fresh eyes is great. Often it turns out to be better work than I gave it credit for. Sometimes I find that I have organised folders and files of work quite neatly, only to have completely forgotten about them.

This image of the Nine Standards in Cumbria, somewhat changed and re-imagined, comes from a whole giant batch of drawings I did years ago when studying at Charles Sturt University for my MA. I used to draw the same thing over and over. It seems so strange to me now; I guess I must have had so much more time back then!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

White horse walk - new drawing






Here is a new version of Antiquarian Walk. In this one I have used graphite for the drawing then watercolour wash. The result is somewhat photographic, somewhat sepia-toned and appropriately nostalgic in feel.

mixed media on paper 20cms x 13cms 2009

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Antiquarian art cards.



Before everything went clunk, along with the clunkers and the cash for the clunkers, which clunks today, I sold a few art cards from my Etsy shop. The lower two you can see here are ink and watercolour on washi. They are tiny, just 3.5 x 2.5 inches. The nib of an ink pen can tear every thick washi, so I needed to work quickly. The watercolour soaks right in, no chance of reworking, but the results, if gotten right, are very good.

The top one, a wax resist chalk horse drawing,  is simple, but these drawings are much harder to produce, there are many failure versions for every successful one. Still, it is a medium I very much like using.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Rollright Stones in wax and ink

Here is another wax resist image, this time washed with calligraphy ink. I used a candle for the drawing, not a bad method so long as the weather is cold and candle stays hard. Do not try this in the heat of summer! 28cms x 20cms 2006

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

sepia drawings of The Rollright Stones


Moonrocks. Sepia, charcoal and white chalk on paper 33cms x 24cms 2002.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Stonehenge photography




The lower three, without polarisation, were taken with an Olympus rangefinder in 1999.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Stonehenge trilithon in ink and watercolour


I have been working for some time on trying to achieve a solid looking form using flimsy and filmy media. It doesn't always work; my strike rate is about 50%. But it worked here. I adhered a layer of very fine, see-through calligraphy paper onto a much thicker washi shikishi measuring about 12" or 30cms square. Basing the drawing on sketches made several years ago after a trip to Wiltshire, I started with the colour. Applied in quick washes and striving hard not to overwork the surface, which is absorbant and can't be reworked, I waited a few days for it to dry completely before applying the outline drawing in calligraphy ink. I think it transmits the feeling of stone.

watercolour and ink on paper, 2009

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Henge study



This is a small watercolour study with ink pen on handmade washi from Tokigawa, Saitama Prefecture. I was looking again through John Michell's Megalithomania and at some tourism brochures from Avebury with reproductions of antiquarian prints. What appeals to me is the reoccurance of a number of bucolic motifs that represent the landscape in which the ancient sites are found, but which have no relation to the modern science of archeology; shepherds, church steeples, windmills, distant villages.


watercolour and ink on paper 13cms x12cms 2008.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Quick watercolour and ink Stonehenge sketches




I completed these at the same time as the ink sketches below, but these were the less succesful ink drawings. I applied some watercolour washes in an effort to improve them, or at least cover up the weaknesses in the drawing ;-). I find the Japanese watercolours to have greater brilliance and extendability than the English ones, though the hues and chroma are still new and a little strange to me. The colours mix well and neutrals are easily achieved. The washes worked out quite well.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

New Stonehenge drawings.




These are new drawings I completed recently in Japanese calligraphy ink on watercolour paper. They all measure about 9" x 6" on 230gm Clester watercolour CP paper; one of the English made papers that Holbein sell in Japan. I worked from old sketches I made of Stonehenge in 2002 from my own photographs as well as a few old postcards. I was conscious of breaking down the form through loose linework to the point of abstraction; creating a new image of postive/negative space and vigorous line.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

New megalithic drawings.





Here are some new drawings on fresh paper from the Jionji Press in Ogawa Machi, Saitama Prefecture. These are very simple ink and watercolour drawings from memory done early in the morning, while the others are still asleep, before the trucks next door start up and the day gets noisy.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Round stone

Painted in 2006 in aqua-oils, this was the first painting I tried on my own handmade paper. It measures about 24cms x 17cms. The inspiration being a boulder I saw on the Coast to Coast walk between Shap and Orton in 1999. A lone boulder, about 10 feet tall, stands on the limestone plateau buffeted by wind. Is it a nargun? Watch out!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Standing Stones - oil painting on handmade paper


I make my own paper from offcuts and failure prints and drawings. If primed and sized well, it makes excellent painting paper. Here I used it for a study of standing stones and the rough texture of the paper and off-square shape works well with the subject.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Approach - watercolour of the Nine Standards

This is a small watercolour (15 cms x 10 cms) based on my experience of hiking towards the Nine Standards Rigg in Cumbria UK. It was a very windy day. The monoliths would appear and disappear as I walked along the path up the hills. From a distance it was difficult to make out both size and surface texture of these tall cairns. Walking in the strong wind is slow and hard. The sense of time and approach was the focus of the series Early on the Morning we arrived, which is based on the same site.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wax resist drawing - Hill Figure

This was a preliminary drawing to the Antiquarian Walk. It's very simple with wax applied directly to the washi and using only two colours, with a small amount of white for opacity. It is very small, only 136mm x 121 mm. 2008

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Standing Stones - oil on canvas

Evening meeting. Oil on linen 12" x 9" 2002/2008.

I found this canvas last year when going through a box of old paintings. At that time it was BW monochrome and rather unfinished. I worked over it in a very simple complimentary pallette of violet/yellow, which lifted the whole image and gave it much more punch.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Antiquarian walk - ink and watercolour


This is a small postcard size drawing made with pencil, watercolour and ink on washi. I based it on memory, reading and imagination; drawing inspiration from 18thC antiquarian prints.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A stone henge. Wax resist and watercolour on washi


A Stone Henge. wax, pencil, watercolour on washi, 18cms x 11cms 2008

I like using wax resist in drawing very much. If the paper is strong enough, I sometimes use a beeswax candle and draw directly. In this case, the washi was far too soft and fibrous so I had to apply softened beeswax with a stump. This was applied over the pencil drawing and before the watercolour wash. The image is imaginary, a formal exercise using the shapes of Stonehenge.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Early on the morning we arrived - conte on paper 2002


These are drawings I made in 2002 for a studio project and exegisis exploring the reception of megaliths sites in art. These drawings were made from memory after visiting the Nine Standards, near Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria, in 1999. There are 10 drawings in total which form a small series without narrative but focussing on time and anticipation. You can see all of them here.