Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I've become obsessed with paper. I spent hours in Fred Aldous today looking at different types. But the type I want doesn't seem to exist. I want big paper - A2 at least or better still A1. I bought some M1 paper today, but it's white. You see, I really want coloured paper with dark, strong, mucky-looking colours. I want it to have quite a bit of tooth but not as textured as an Ingres paper for instance. When I was talking to the girl in the shop about this she suggested I make my own. Now that sounds like a very interesting idea. But to make such big sheets of paper I'd need a really big deckle and you probably can't buy them that size. So I'll have to make my own.

Is this what it comes to? It starts as an idle idea in London Zoo that I could buy some pencils and a sketchbook and make a few drawings. And just a few months later I'm seriously considering making a deckle and making my own paper?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The portrait of Eleanor sort of stalled, but I have been sketching a lot. Opportunistic sketches in cafes for example (I keep a small sketchbook and pencil in my handbag at all times), and sketches in the margins of my music score, of the conductor, the pianist and other singers in my choir. Unfortunately I had to rub those out before I handed my music back in to the choir librarian. It's all good practice anyway.

However I have started another large pastel piece, of hands throwing a pot on a wheel. It is coming along nicely, and I shall do more work on it today. Much larger than life size, the fingers are over an inch wide - Steph would be proud of me for working large. I used the same method I have been developing, of a careful underdrawing based on a photo (not gridded up this time, just drawn by eye, with careful checking of relative proportions and much rubbing and re-drawing until I was happy with it). Then fill in areas of light, dark, and midtone, with silly colours but carefully picked values, covering every scrap of paper so no white is left. Fix. Then begin more detailed work of graded shadows and lines, using a limited palette with total disregard to colour but careful choice of value. For example the hands are purple, the pot is green. But oddly it doesn't look surreal, it looks quite natural and normal. Fascinating how the viewer's eye is able to accept this - as long as there is no doubt he is looking at a painting of hands, his eye "reads" the hands as "hand-coloured" although in fact it is purple.

EDIT - It's finished I think. I'm quite happy with it overall. My favourite bits are the bubbles.