Pastel on paper: a view of Oxford from the park.
So, I've felt very mixed reactions to this part of the OCA drawing course: I want to improve my observational drawing skills as a foundation for painting, but what I really enjoy is painting... for me, drawing, linear perspective, capturing buildings & towns is like doing musical scales, up & down, up & down; I lose interest and I struggle (as many do) with drawing in public where we imagine everyone criticising our work.
I've done a few sketches that are 'OK': the view of Oxford above, this view of near Brill below:
But I prefer wilderness, craggy moorlands, towering cliffs, the wind ripping at your clothing or the stillness of a frosty dawn. I also prefer abstract or lose figurative work to highly detailed, accurate drawing & artwork. But it seems as though the latter is what the coursework is asking for... perhaps my misunderstanding.
This section of the course is quite lengthy; it's a longish stretch to work without interaction with others and I'm finding it hard to maintain attention to the course with business, work, family and life all going on.
Looking back, I'm generally disappointed with the work I've produced, which reflects my ambivalence as I'm doing it, but trust that I'm learning lessons along the way and developing skills at least that will build towards more fulfilling work.
When I consider successful artists, the work I warm to the most is not so much that of people like Vija Celmins, Tacita Dean or George Shaw, brilliant as they are, but rather the likes of Peter Doig, John Virtue, Nicholas Herbert: I love the energy, mood and movement. (See blog: 25/06/2017 'A handful of landscape artists')
'Ocean 2003', Vija Celmins
Extract from ‘Fatigues’ series by Tacita Dean
'The Gamble' 2012, George Shaw
Concrete Cabin 1991–2, Peter Doig
London No. 10, 2006, Monotype John Virtue
'Landscape L1045, Wooded Hilltop, Late Winter, The Chiltern Hills' 2017, Nicholas Herbert
As I reflect, something else I recognise in myself is that I want to work with others... collaboratively. I often feel isolated at present: I live in the countryside, away from everyone; I'm self-employed, mainly working 1-2-1 with clients but without colleagues; in my work and business it's all down to me to keep things afloat; I'm doing a couple of art based courses, but they're both internet/distance learning based.
I like independence but wonder whether at present, when I'm doing so much alone, working in collaboration with others would help me connect with my old creativity; recently it's largely when I'm talking with other creatives that my mind starts sparking off crazy ideas again, like it used to.
And lastly, I am really interested in conceptual art and installations: a very, very brief visit to the Venice Biennale this year showed me just how much I loved it: the buzz of people, the people working with others, political & social ideas communicated so powerfully though such a wide variety of media, sizes and collections of artwork. It was thrilling.
'Le formiche rosse n.5' 1992, Maria Lai.
'The Mending Project' 2009-2015, Lee Mingwei
'Sculptures cannot eat' 2017, Yorgos Sapountzis
So, at this stage in my life and career, when I spend so much time alone and motivating myself and facilitating others at work, perhaps I should be looking for opportunities to collaborate alongside others and work conceptually, rather than figuratively. However for the sake of the OCA course I've signed up to, I'll also have to keep motivating myself to keep drawing, for arts' sake.