Today, in the depths of winter, some obsessive art therapy.
Interference No.1 (2018) is the first in this year’s ongoing, and some might say, compulsive series of works that involve the use of every drawing implement within the confides of the studio. The series will end when the materials are completely used up to the final pencil tip.
The Boris Johnson mummy story made me chuckle today, so much so that today’s artwork was inspired by that very story.
From an article by Imogen Foulkes on the BBC news website, according to scientists in the Swiss city of Basel, they have solved the mystery over the identity of a mummified woman.
I don’t know why it made me smile so much, but when I read that their research had revealed the woman is the great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother of UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, I knew exactly what I’d be painting.
Basel Boris, 2018. Acrylic and pencil on paper. 29.7 x 21cm
Cup of Tea is an original watercolour on card.
It was drawn and painted from a 68 degree angle during the afternoon of December 21st, 2017.
A cup of tea is a single serving of the beverage tea. Informally, it may be rendered “a cuppa”. The idiom “one’s cup of tea” refers to a preference; often it is in the negative, so “X is not really my cup of tea” means “I don’t like X.”
My work, a drawing titled Happy Today was, believe it or not started before Robert Mugabe resigned as president of Zimbabwe. Why is this significant? Well, shortly after completing the drawing of a smiling mouth with the caption “Happy Today” underneath, I switched on the TV and the first channel to show up was Sky News, and on it, live coverage of street scenes in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare. Sky reporter David Bowden was the lucky journalist witnessing this historic occasion as he and his camera crew drove through the busy and thronging streets, its people joyous beyond words.
I have to be honest, my Happy Today drawing was not specifically drawn for this particular occasion, although events in Zimbabwe were bubbling up over the past few days after the military coup started the previous week.
I had intended Happy Today to be the start of another daily work, this time in the form of drawing, using whatever material I deemed appropriate.
The drawing itself was created using pencil on 130 gsm white paper. The smiling mouth was randomly chosen by an algorithm from found images on the internet. The paper measures 21 x 29.7 cm; 8.27 x 11.69 inches; or A4; sizes now installed as my signature work practice.
The series will now continue on a daily basis, but the image will change as a reflection of my status, the world’s staus or indeed, both. But for now, I dedicated Happy Today to the people of Zimbabwe as they start their journey towards a better life.
If you are interested in owning the original drawing of Happy Today, the first in the series, please email me for more details. It will be listed on my online shop in due course, priced at £100 including shipping.
This Happens To Paper When You Press Too Hard On It
If you press too hard on paper when drawing, you run the risk of ripping through the fibres. It’s what you call a rookie error.
This isn’t always the case, however.
Much depends on the thickness of the paper.
Anything between your standard 80gsm copier peper to, let’s say, 130-150gsm cartridge paper, is at huge risk of ripping if too much pressure is applied to your particular project.
It is almost guaranteed if the paper is wet or slightly damp.
In my defence, I was deep in the moment of creativity, working on a new series titled Interference.
So much so that I failed to notice that every swirl of a pencil was causing each delicate strand of the support to break, thus leading to the complete failure of the paper’s structural property.
In other words, when water was applied to my watercolour pencil mark, it was only a matter of time before the paper on which said watercolour paper was used was going to tear right through.
The One and Only Time
Unlike the mouse who eventually avoids the electrified cheese, I learned by my mistake just that one time and have never repeated such a fundamental gaffe ever since.
Gentility is the order of the day when working with paper.
It’s a material that requires the utmost respect. Not least because we nurture its source for many years; or at least some of us do.
Interference is a series of works on paper and card that explores repetition, obsessive compulsions, and the impossible fulfilment of perfection.
Each piece is made at random using random drawing implements within the confides of the studio. The series will continue until all materials are exhausted.
“Black Wednesday” sees the government suspending the UK’s membership of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism following a wave of speculation against the Pound.