11th July 2012. A pair of Selkies. Charcoal on A1 sized paper.

 


 

 

 

 

4th July 2021

A4 prints of my new drawing available in my Etsy shop from next week. Hare Witch. Charcoal on A1paper. 

 


 

 

 

 

21st June 2021

The Wild Harvest Exhibition is now live.  Please come and join us.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/oakandashandthorncollective/permalink/198991222127446/

 

 

20th June 2021

Come and join us for the Oak and Ash and Thorn Collective's Wild Harvest Exhibition. Nine artists are exhibiting from the 21st June. Follow this link:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/oakandashandthorncollective

 

 

 

 

29th Jan 2021 https://fb.watch/3k1hosP_Bh/

 

29th Jan 2021.  New drawing. Sisters.

 

19th Jan 2021.  Working on a new painting. This one's going to be a magician's assistant being sawn in half.  I'm doing stetches of heads trying to get the lighting right. Stay posted.

 

17th Jan 2021

On sketchbooks, sketchyness and drawing:
How many people remember having a “rough book” at school? They were (at least in my town) thick pads of poor quality paper bound with gum along one edge, and we were instructed to use them before writing work out properly in our exercise books. The point of rough books is you use them to work stuff out, amend things, edit writing, and do all of this first to prototype the finished article. Mine tended to be full of doodles, but considering where I went with my education, that was probably appropriate.
When I left school I went to art college for four years, first doing a “foundation” year, where I got to try out different disciplines and decide which ones I was best at and/or most interested in (kind of a sketchbook exercise in its own right) then did a degree course in contemporary crafts. Apart from some weeks doing printmaking, graphics and photography on foundation, I didn’t do any finished two dimensional work at all until after I graduated. Throughout those four years however, I filled something in the order of twenty sketchbooks. We were taught to use them in the same way as school rough books; working out ideas and for recording visual information. I still have most of them, and the most interesting thing to me about them is that they only contain fifty per cent of what people would term “drawing”. The rest of it is written. The drawings are unfinished, dashed out, and the writing is full of grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and some of the ideas are just daft and wrong-headed. You certainly don’t use or keep sketchbooks for prosperity. Now this is the whole point. I have friends who are professional writers and musicians, and their “sketchbooks” tend to be those little lined moleskin books that easily fit into a pocket. They use them as rough books, and jot down ideas or sketches of plots before they forget them. This is drawing, but using words to do it. I’d contend that they are really useful as a tool even if you’re not somebody who works in the arts, or for whom the arts are a big part of their hobby activities, or whom thinks visually. I hadn’t produced any finished sculpture, drawings or paintings for years until about 2012, but I always kept sketchbooks going, as they were an adjunct to thinking. I had a career caring for people with learning disabilities, and I always had a sketchbook to hand, not least because I could use it to help communicate with non-verbal service users.
I’m not a psychologist or educationalist but I think sketchbooks are a way to make amorphous ideas more concrete whilst paradoxically affording more flexibility of thought. This seems to get harder as we get older – we get set in our ways as cognitive bias and crystallised thought patterns set in (do we use up available memory? I dunno), so anything that we can use to offset that has to be beneficial.
So here’s some quick and dirty tips about how to use sketchbooks (and I’m using the term in its broadest sense):
Always have one to hand, otherwise you’ll be searching around for the back of an envelope or empty fag packet.
Don’t use them to do your best work – that’s not what they’re for.
Have them in different sizes. For big work, layout paper is good but wallpaper lining paper is cheaper.
Don’t self-censor. Sketchbooks should only be public if you want them to be, (much like journals), and the point is to use them as part of thinking and memory.
Don’t worry about it if you think you can’t draw, spell etc., if you do you won’t want to get your ideas down on paper. Anyway, the more you do, the better you’ll get.
Use them to experiment, to practice techniques, and develop skills. Part of that process is allowing yourself to screw up and test ideas/techniques/skills to destruction.
Don’t use expensive pads or expensive materials UNLESS you’re experimenting/building skills using those materials. Cheap is fine. If you have a local scrap-store, try and score some old exercise books.
Be prepared for the fact that occasionally you’ll lose one. Don’t get upset about it. Move on.
If you’re down the pub and using one be discrete otherwise people will want you to draw them – which is fine if you want to score some drinks, but it gets old quite quickly.
If you’re creatively ‘blocked’ (which can be miserable – I was blocked for years) you can use sketchbooks like mental sink plungers.
Use them to record things you see, thoughts, plans for paintings, chess moves, directions to get places, chord shapes, ideas for pub quizzes, recipes, ideas for tattoos, poetry, how you think you might put that kitchen shelf up, the titles of songs you hear on the radio, telephone numbers, where you’ve planted your vegetables, in fact anything that will otherwise be lost. You may never look at it or read it again, but you will have helped your thinking process.

11th January 2021

Well here I am attempting to join the twenty first century by sorting out a blog.  Probably not doing this correctly at the moment but it'll do for now.

 

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