Before getting on to the main purpose of todays post, an update on another of the biro drawings, there is just enough time to show you one more of the Cyclomotor drawings unearthed the other day. As you can see this is a colour one and as far as I can remember it was quite a big one, something like A1. What does remain firmly in the memory is how it was done. My tutor at the time insisted we make some of our drawings in colour and as this was a drawing project brushes were out. I had had a small tin of these oil pastels kicking around at home for a few years but had never used them, so this was a perfect opportunity to give them a try. They are called Neocolour by Caran D’Ache and are quite hard in their consistency. They are not at all appropriate for any kind of detail work but for big jobs they rule. They go down quite evenly for a pastel and what is really nice is that you can smudge them in a very controlled way with your finger and blend the colours into each other with some control. I’m wondering if I can use them for some of these bike drawings if I can get the scale up big enough, could be fun.
Looking at this old drawing today gives me real pleasure. It represents something that I work constantly to rediscover these days, a kind of naive confidence in the way the drawing is made that lies beyond the bounds of the years of formal training that followed this period of my experience. The errors in perspective and construction seem easily carried by the sheer boldness of the enterprise. I still have some of those pastels somewhere, perhaps it’s time to dig them out.
On to the main thrust of the post, oddly a much shorter paragraph, and this is a kind of progress snap shot of the second drag racing picture being worked up in biro. This one is taking a little time as I’m kind of learning as I go. In a break from usual practice this one’s being done on a different paper than usual, Fabriano Drawing Paper, whiter than cartridge with a slightly different texture. It’s a learning exercise as the pen engages with the surface in a softer way which means needing to be much more delicate with any pressure. It also tends to be much harder to hold a crisp line, though having said that it does give shaded areas a looser feel than that achieved with Bristol Board. The big test will be to see how it deals with larger areas of black and the fine feathering used on wheels etc. It is probably better suited to larger drawings where a softer medium can be used like pencil or crayon. I’ll persist though and see how it turns out.
The long weekend away turned into a longer period away from the drawing board thanks to another chunk of freelance work, a mad dash to the line in time for a client meeting abroad for my client and a hefty chunk of mechanism making. It worked out fine so here’s hoping more work from them soon.
Anyone who has a home workshop full of stuff, or a home studio full of the products of ones creativity will know that it is an oft occurring feature of life that whilst rummaging through things in order to find a particular item, one often uncovers another item long buried under a pile, or secreted at the bottom of a rarely opened box. It happens on our computers too. How many of us have hard drives stuffed with old files we barely know we still have? So it was a nice surprise to unearth some very old drawings from my first year as an art student. You’ll see that my interest in engines was already in plain view.
As some of you will know, and others perhaps not, ones journey toward a creative life in the UK often starts after you’ve spent eighteen or so years filling your head with maths, history, geography, languages and all manner of fact based academic luggage. Many of us don’t really know what creative career we would like to pursue and so a year on a Foundation course helps to point you in the right direction. It’s a fantastic period full of experimentation and exploration as you feel your way through a vast gamut of disciplines. After thirty years as a professional I really feel like doing another one it’s such an expansive experience.
So these two drawings are from that time, products of one of the many observational drawing assignments undertaken where the emphasis was on producing lots of images rather than how one made them. The one above is done in soft pencil on cartridge paper and is complete with smears, fingerprints and the lovely grubbiness one gets from the heel of your hand moving about the paper. I’m not sure, but I think the lower one is done in some kind of oil pastel, again on cartridge paper, and is vastly oversized. You can see from both that my interpretation and understanding of forms, and the ability to distinguish surfaces through light and dark areas is starting to assert itself but is very much a work in progress. I’m particularly amused by my rendering of various ellipses, a geometric shape that haunts many an interpretation of man made objects. I still struggle with them even now.
What is this object? It is a small engine that one attaches to the rear seat stays of a bicycle and drives the rear wheel via a roller lowered onto the tyre. A Cyclomotor perhaps? In the larger image it is upside down, the cylinder would point downwards in normal use. My uncle appeared from his cavernous garage with it on the day I mentioned to him that I was looking for something unusual to draw. Sadly I can’t remember what happened to the motor or the drawings after I photographed them.