Another fine line

I love serendipity – I’ve just started reading the catalogue that accompanies the Chuck Close exhibition I saw last week and there in the introductory essay is Close being quoted on crosshatching. The comment is in response to Close’s early study of Albrecht Dürer’s prints that are held in Yale University’s fine print collection.

“In those Dürer prints I saw that the artist had done what was easiest for him. He glued a piece of paper to a woodblock and drew with a pen. The easiest way to draw tonal gradations with a pen is to make a crosshatch stroke. The hardest thing for a printer who must follow the artist’s drawing to do is cut a crosshatch, because you have to go in and cut out the little spaces in between. If Dürer had to cut his own block, he would have made only one crosshatch drawing and then said, “Hey, wait a minute, what am I doing? I have made something so difficult” He would have immediately abandoned crosshatching. But because other people cut the block he could go ahead and draw whatever he wanted, and it became their problem.”

This makes me think that further variations of the water tank drawing could involve using techniques that could be printed in various formats. By looking at the water tank over the course of the day I have realised that I can use the shadows cast onto the tank can help me define it’s shape, without resorting to cross-hatching. Here is the second drawing, which I did a few days ago using my Lamy Safari pen.

Water tank with old chairs, pen and ink, 12 December 2014

Water tank with old chairs, pen and ink, 12 December 2014

 

Sydney, for a day

My partner and I caught the bus up to Sydney yesterday, so we could see the Chuck Close: Prints, Process and Collaboration exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The weather was vile. Rainy with strong gusty winds so inside a gallery was just the place to be.

We were a bit stunned, when we arrived, to find out that it was a single entry ticket to the show, so our plans to take a look, retire for a restorative coffee and then re-enter the gallery for a second look were shot. Having decided that caffeine fortification was in order, prior to entry, we went to the 4th floor cafe, with its marvelous terrace with views to the Opera House, only to have to sit inside because yes, it was raining again. I took the opportunity to quickly sketch this sculpture of a ‘child’. When I finally dashed out to get a look at the title and artist’s credit I discovered that the head, turned away from me is that of an extinct and ancient fossil fish!

to be carried away in the current, to be dissolved in the Other, Sangeeta Sandrasegar, 2014, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.  Copic multiliner, 11 December 2014

‘to be carried away in the current, to be dissolved in the Other’, Sangeeta Sandrasegar, 2014, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. Copic multiliner, 11 December 2014

I won’t say much about the exhibition, other than its great if you like Close’s work, as he is happy to not only reveal, but hang on the walls, examples of the processes he uses to make his work. This includes the actual woodblocks etching plates and forms he uses. I love seeing these objects as much as the finished work itself. There was so much to take in so I was thankful that the catalogue does provide lots of close up detail so you can examine the work again in your own time.

Given that we ended up spending less time at the gallery than anticipated we still had some time to expend before we headed back to return bus. My partner suggested finding somewhere to perch ourselves and draw. We walked to the eastern side of Circular Quay and found a bar on the Opera Walk where we had a good view of the Harbour Bridge, albeit from underneath the shelter of the bar’s umbrellas.

The Harbour Bridge from the Opera Walk, Circular Quay, Sydney. 11 December 2014, Copic Multiliner

The Harbour Bridge from the Opera Walk, Circular Quay, Sydney. 11 December 2014, Copic Multiliner

Back on the bus and through the rain to Canberra. I was jolted awake as a brilliant light shone onto my face – the sun had broken through the clouds. I spent the next half hour enjoying the special sunset effects. This is one I tried to capture on my phablet, an impression of the small scraps of cloud catching the last sunlight.

Cloud study, late afternoon, e-drawing (Photoshop Touch), 11 December 2014

Cloud study, late afternoon, e-drawing (Photoshop Touch), 11 December 2014

Inspiration is for amateurs

I seem to be collecting artistic aphorisms lately. The full quote, from the artist Chuck Close is:

“Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.”

My old cat doesn’t seem to be paying much heed to Chuck. It was a coincidence that I still had my sketch book in my hand, looked up and decided to catch a quick pose from George (actually full name Georgina, but she rarely gets called that). Later the same day I spent rather more time drawing her asleep and butted up against my partner.

George asleep near a paper bag (left), pen and ink  and George asleep against my partner (right), Copic marker

George asleep near a paper bag (left), pen and ink and George asleep against my partner (right), Copic marker