Serendipity and The Big Draw

I just received my return postcard from the Big Draw, held at the National Gallery of Australia on 27 October this year.

My return Big Draw postcard from last month's event at the National Gallery of Australia.

My return Big Draw postcard from last month’s event at the National Gallery of Australia.

Earlier in the day I read that The Big Draw came about when the Guild of St George, a charitable organisation founded by John Ruskin, decided to celebrate the centennial of Ruskin’s death. The aim of the celebration was “to get everybody drawing” (Christian McEwen’s book World Enough and Time) . The Big Draw continues to be celebrated annually in the UK and around the world under the auspices of  The Campaign for Drawing, which is funded, in part, by the Guild.  Serendipity!

Drawing extended

For anyone who enjoys the art of drawing two recent exhibitions in Canberra demonstrate this art at its highest level. William Kentridge is known internationally for his work based on the techniques of drawing and collage, which is frequently translated into animation. Less well known, even in his own country, is the work of the late Roy Jackson. For both artist’s the impact of the drawn line  extends directly into their work across their chosen media.

A retrospective of Jackson’s work has just closed at the Australian National University’s Drill Hall Gallery. Sadly Jackson died earlier this year.

A panorama of Gallery 2 at the Roy Jackson retrospective, ANU Drill Hall Gallery.

A panorama of Gallery 2 at the Roy Jackson retrospective, ANU Drill Hall Gallery.

This retrospective features a wide range of Jackson’s practice from note and sketchbooks, collages, paintings and drawings. In the Preface to the exhibition catalogue it says “The hand is obviously apparent in all Roy Jackson’s imagery. Marks of the brush and of various drawing implements register with the maximum directness and immediacy.”

Roy Jackson notebooks and sketchbooks.

Roy Jackson notebooks and sketchbooks.

Jackson’s hand, influenced by the work of Ian Fairweather and Tony Tuckson, champions the apparently loose and expressive line. Sometimes words and figures appear, but the overall impression is of a vigorous abstraction. In one of Jackson’s notebooks on display he writes “Too much technique happening, not free or quick enough or crude or rough enough work…”. I was particularly interested in Jackson’s collage works, where he has taken drawings on small scraps of paper, adding them to a base sheet and then worked further into them.

My own notes on my first visit to the retrospective were ‘often/linear/delineation over colour/blind drawing/drawn into paint with brush end or stick.’ After my second visit I decided to try some of Jackson’s approaches for myself. I used some of my less felicitous print experiments as a base, then drew onto these with permanent maker and paint, working back into two or three successive layers.

Inspired by Roy Jackson #1, 3 November 2013.

Inspired by Roy Jackson #1, 3 November 2013.

Inspired by Roy Jackson #2, detail, 3 November 2013.

Inspired by Roy Jackson #2, detail, 3 November 2013.

Inspired by Roy Jackson, #3, 3 November 2013.

Inspired by Roy Jackson, #3, 3 November 2013.

If you would like to see more of Roy Jackson’s work you can find some here.

Cafe Wednesday 30 October

I applaud the comment I read the other day that a bit of watercolour improves a pencil drawing no end. I’m hoping the same applies to this pen sketch.

Bike racks at the cafe, 30 October 2013

Bike racks at the cafe, 30 October 2013

However I think that I’ll need more than colour to fix the ‘errors’ in this supposedly observational drawing! Perhaps next time.

Bike racks with colour, 30 October 2013.

Bike racks with colour, 30 October 2013.