What to draw? Is one supposed to think about what has the best chance of selling? In my opinion the answer is no.
Whatever my subject is, I have to be passionate in wanting to draw it…rather than, say, wondering if there could be potential buyers for such a piece.
I like to build up atmospheres and recreate situations where I found myself very happy. This means I am most often drawing about my travels.
I had to convince myself to even begin “Snow Showers” (above) because it looked so complicated and I had no idea in advance how I would draw it. In the end I simply began, deciding that I would ‘learn on the job’. The drawing has received lots of attention as it is unusual to have an out-of-focus landscape through dirty and streaked plate glass.
Incidently, the following drawing “Snow on Les Halles” is exactly the same scene taken from the same window of the Pompidou Centre, except that the camera is focussed on the view rather than focussed on the raindrops.
Since my first trip to Japan in 2003 I have been drawing maiko (apprentice geiko) and geiko (the Kyoto word for geisha). The drawing “Dichotomy” is another example of a drawing I had no idea how to tackle because of its detail and complexity. Once again I had an internal tussle, trying to convince myself to take the plunge. As an artist, one simply has to attempt harder and harder challenges; not all the time but enough times so that one gains from experience and ‘goes up a notch’. Anyway, it keeps the grey matter ticking over, problem-solving being good for us.
Some subjects have less chance of selling than others. This drawing “A Vendre” is rather grungy. I saw the backdrop (vacant shop front) as rather abstract expressionist when I came across it on Rue Saint Antoine in Paris. I stood on the other side of the street, photographing people as they walked past ‘my’ staked-out wall. I thought there wasn’t too much chance of this composition being snapped up but that wasn’t a problem. I simply had to draw it. (It didn’t sell.) Another grungy Paris drawing which also didn’t sell at my last exhibition is …
…”Composition”. I enjoy the contrast between ugliness and beauty. Besides, which is which? Ugliness has its own beauty.
I mentioned at the end of my page “Failures!” that I had watched the film “Hitchcock” today. In that film, Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock, says at the very end “But you know as they say in Hollywood: ‘You’re only as good as your last picture.’ So, now, if you’ll excuse me, I must toddle off to begin the exhaustive search for my next project.”
He holds out his cigar towards something we don’t yet see. He continues “Unfortunately I find myself once again bereft of all inspiration. I do hope something comes along soon…”
Yes, those regular gaps in an artist’s life when the inspiration dries up for the next project/subject/drawing/painting/book are familiar to all of us who create.
From late 2016 I have been working with out-of-focus Paris subject matter as well as, on the home-front, seabirds around Fremantle.