I began this making day with Angela, Alison and Ines, later to be joined by Maire. I described that I wanted to work with some collaborations during the day and that I was starting my own response to the work given to me by two artist friends. This first piece was presented to me to work on by Noeleen Comiskey.
My response was to work in oil paint, despite the original work being on unstretched paper. I used a square head brush which is one of my current favourites. I like the purposeful mark this makes. I also tore up a photograph of my son as I decided that the mouth needed an eye and I was drawn to the innocence of this oversize element. Despite sending this image to my friend and gaining her positive response, I feel that this is only a stage in the progress of this work and feel that it has another stage of drawing to complete it. My response was, as Angela pointed out at the meeting at the end of the day, somewhat emotional: getting negative emotions ‘out of the way’ so that the work could begin. It took me a little while to see this, but when I did it made perfect sense. I am waiting for the oil paint to dry so that I can draw over the surface again (probably in white).
This second piece is a large ink drawing on paper (A1 size) and this was given to me to work on by Tyga Helme. It is typical of many of her ink drawings and the subject matter is also something which she frequently turns to. The suggestions of trees and plants was something which I was transfixed by and, as you can see in the stages of development, I kept tweaking in different ways before becoming comfortable with ownership of the work. It is a very interesting thing to collaborate with another artist and to feel the push and pull of what you wish to reveal and conceal, probably both in literal terms and in psychological terms. It was interesting that changing the music I was listening to made a real difference. The more powerful music somehow gave me a sense of control, and once this was mine I thoroughly enjoyed working into the drawing. Tyga is also very pleased with this and I believe she is going to draw into it again so the conversation will continue. Angela Rogers gave me some extremely good links, including photographs of the work of Jon Barraclough, with his lazy susan drawing tables at Tate Liverpool . She also gave me links to writing on Drawing Conversations.
The day started at 10am but I had assumed that it would start at 9am and was ready at this time. Whilst there was an hour to play with I continued to add ink to the pencil lines I had created the previous day watching Bird Gang dancers in a workshop led by filmmaker and choreographer Simeon Qsyea. This was probably the most fun I have had with a pencil in my hand in a long time. The dancers were incredible and my drawings were such a wonderful release. Literally ‘opening up’ and exploring movement whilst trying to block any sense of judgement from others (everyone else there was filming or photographing the dancers, I was the only participant drawing). I realise that I needed to remind myself to ‘stay in the moment’ whenever my thoughts wandered. The moment was very demanding to focus on as it kept changing quickly. There was no time to be distracted by negative thoughts. Putting ink over the pencil lines was almost as rewarding as the initial activity as I felt I was being taken on an incredible journey of discovering my own work again. At the end of our Making Day, in response to a question I asked Angela about words she used to describe needing to feel ‘uncomfortable enough’ in her drawings, she explained: “Every time we look at our work, we are faced with ourselves”. That sense of needing to be able to make honest marks and be less contrived and allow a sense of play and discovery was something we all understood. What a joy to be able to share these words, and each others’ work.