The first beginning was 1994. It was the year that Lucy was born. Using oil paint was impossible with a new baby in the house. I had to think of a cunning plan. *Light-bulb!* Try using coloured pencils instead. In my distant past I had experimented with pencils …and so… I bought a box of Derwents and a box of Stabilo Schwann Softcolor pencils. What fun! Here goes…
At this fledging stage, I thought I needed to outline everything in black. I did this for my first couple of drawings – as if they were leadlight.
In these early years I was cutting up bits and pieces of photos out of magazines. I had a big box full of cut up bits which I added to regularly. I made collages out of the tiny bits, doing drawings from my reconstituted compositions.
I didn’t even note down the sizes of these drawings and none of them are in my hands now – except for “Lucy’s Buzzy Bee” which we still have.
This period of drawing from collages began in 1994, fizzling out in mid-1998. I ended up feeling that the images were too stilted; decorative but lacking life. I returned to painting landscapes in oils for the next two to three years; an example is ‘Ebb Tide’ below. The pencils were well and truly packed away and I haven’t worked from collages since.
The second beginning was in 2001. I was working towards an exhibition of Perth/Fremantle landscapes to be shown at Gadfly Gallery in Perth. I already had about half the oil paintings needed. An early morning entry from my art journal on 15th January 2001 reads “I am back from New Zealand and I’ve just had a miraculous thought – to do the rest of my exhibition pictures in coloured pencils! I was looking at the photo I took of the leadlight window at Dunedin Railway Station and I thought of doing it in pencils. And then I thought ‘Why not do a whole series in pencils – they are suitable for all these new landscapes’. But the amazing thing was, I went to tell Matt of this breakthrough. He’d just gotten up that second…and he said…”I’ve just been thinking about coloured pencils – or even dreaming about them. I’m not sure which and I’ve no idea why!!!” Now is that telepathy or what!? We are both incredulous that this thought popped into his head. We shook hands because this is what I’m going to do.”
“Left Bank Illuminations” was my first attempt. The entry from my journal, 19th January 2001, reads “Tonight I finished my first drawing. I didn’t enjoy drawing it. I was very anxious that it would be a failure. Also I didn’t like USING the pencils. I was out of my comfort zone, being so used to oils now. But Matt kept encouraging me. The result is very soft and quite restful to the eye. I’m all geared up to start another one now.”
These new drawings are completely different from the 1994-1998 set. They have much less clutter and I am now drawing from my own photos – which happen to be landscapes from the Fremantle area where I live.
The second beginning started the coloured pencil journey which I am still on. I am 54 today and hope that I still have several years of journey left.
Speaking of journeys, I am travelling for the month of August so it may be that I do not post again until September, depending on whether or not I have opportunities to post while I am overseas. See you later!!!
To see several more examples of the 1994-1998 collage drawings here is the link to the Miscellaneous Works page on my website.
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