I don’t want to show you what I’m working on right this moment because it’s top secret, hush, hush.
So instead, here’s a picture of an ongoing metalpoint drawing which I continue to work on from time to time and which is part of a larger project about people seen in old photographs found in a Margate second hand shop.
There is a Margate connection with all of these drawings: some are definitely drawings of people who were in Margate at some point in time but others may never have been here and only their images ever found their way to The Isle of Thanet. For some reason or other their images were eventually placed in a junk shop in Cliftonville from where they came into my hands. Now I’m drawing them and wondering what connections there might be between me and them.
The photograph which this particular silverpoint drawing is based upon is an old photograph which was probably taken in Germany in the 1930s or 1940s. At some point in time it had been torn in half but then so carefully glued back together again that it wasn’t obvious at first that it had been torn in two. I want to find a way to get the fact of its partial destruction and its careful fixing into the stuff of the drawing itself – it’s an interesting artistic problem.
Some of my drawings will be on show at The London Art Fair.
GBS Fine Art Ltd will be showing some of my work at the 2018 London Art Fair from 17th until the 21st January.
I hope to be able to get up to London on Friday – maybe see some of you there!
Look out also for Margate based gallerist Chiara Williams Contemporary Art who’ll be showing the work of The Solo Award winner Francis Richardson.
I’ve been looking through some drawings done as demonstrations for drawing exercises in my Life Drawing classes. The new term of Life Drawing courses at Margate Adult Education Centre starts this week.
This drawing is from a drawing exercise about relooking and moving on to the next moment. In this exercise the model holds a pose for a short amount of time and then moves to a second position and then back to the first and then back again to the second, three times over. In this drawing the model probably held the poses for about 15 seconds each time but the students usually get a minute and then 30 seconds each time. What the drawer is drawing is different each time and even if it were humanly possible for the model to reoccupy the exact-same pose the drawer will have changed their mind about what they find interesting, what they see and what they think. We look and make a decision and then we must move on to the next moment and let the drawing be what it is. The ‘finished’ drawing will be the traces of the accumulated decisions and there are always choices to be made (are we thinking about the edges, proximity, tone, angles, the course of a line, the character of the line, the weight of the mark, the sharpness, the touch… etc?). The line is a good line if it is an honest line responding to the changes of mind. In drawing a line we change our minds.
This exercise makes us more aware of the way that drawing ‘The Figure’ is never about drawing something complete and settled. All is in time and our line traces those moments and says “for this moment this was the case and this is as close as I could get to it”. Drawing like this acknowledges the fact that there are always multiple version of the same thing and our drawn lines don’t need to agree on the matter in order to be correct.
I teach Life Drawing at Margate Adult Education Centre, The Sidney Cooper Gallery (Canterbury Christ Church University) and occasionally at other places too. We presently need a few more people to enrol on the Thursday morning Life Drawing for it to be allowed to run and so book a place asap please if you’re interested.
Here is a link to the courses I teach at the Kent Adult Education: https://www.kentadulteducation.co.uk/brands/mnid_123/Mr-Roy-James-Eastland.aspx
This silverpoint drawing is presently on show in St Ives, Cornwall, as part of Anima-Mundi’s ‘Mixed Winter 17’ exhibition. It’s a drawing about people and about a moment in time in Margate (a seaside town in the south east of England).
The drawing is about the size of an A1 sheet of paper but it’s drawn with silver on thick layers of gesso on board (silverpoint). The work is based on a small postcard image found at an antique fair. Here we see a group of mostly young adults, and a few children, dressed in a variety of fancy dress costumes depicting a mix of social and ethnic ‘types’. There is ‘A Margate Landlady’, a ‘Red Indian’, men dressed as women, people ‘blacked up’, various ‘foreigners’ and even someone dressed-up as a member of the Klu Klux Klan (make of those details what you will). The presence of ‘Britannia’, in the centre of the group, makes me think they are at an Empire Day event.
This is a drawing about people and about a place and a moment in time. It might bring to mind thoughts around identity, self-expression, ‘otherness’ and about taste. These people look thrilled to be in costume and playing with identities. A few years later came The War. Their choices of costume bring into focus thoughts about British Imperialism and about attitudes to class and to foreigners and so forth. This drawing is also about a group of people expressing themselves and about people looking happy in each other’s company and they looking towards us.
The act of drawing someone’s image is a kind of meditation of their presence beyond their appearance. More accurately it’s a meditation on what I imagine is their personality as given to me via a small photographic image. It’s a drawing and I’m glad it’s being seen in St Ives right now.
I’m very pleased to be having my work on show at the Anima-Mundi ‘Mixed Winter 17’ exhibition at the moment.
If you happen to be in the vicinity of St Ives, in West Cornwall, over the next few weeks then pop in and have a look!
For now, here is a link to the Anima-Mundi website: https://www.anima-mundi.co.uk/mixed-winter-17
This drawing was recently on show in the ING Discerning Eye Drawing Bursary exhibition. The medium is silver on gesso on board (metalpoint/silverpoint). It’s one of an occasional on-going series of drawings based on photo booth images.
Photo booth images capture little moments of time which only the automatically timed camera shots ever witnessed; the sitter is usually alone, waiting for that moment to become a fixed image. The older types of photo booths gave the sitter four chances, four moments, to make a portrait good enough (or not too awful) to be used for, say, a bus pass or a membership card. Sometimes the moments were mistimed. The mistimed images would be unflattering but, perhaps, more interesting than the properly posed ones. This drawing is based an unused photo booth image of my mum.
The drawing is based on a photograph but it isn’t simply a copy of it. It has been repeatedly redrawn, sanded-away and scratched-into again and again. The image emerges out of this process of loss and finding. Below the drawing of the face is a block of hand-written text. The text is made up of multiple re-writings of lines of remembered speech and familiar stories. Each time the stories are re-written they are different and each re-writing both obscures and reinforces parts of earlier versions. Some repeated words are visibly more present and some fragments of sentences can be glimpsed but the there is never a single version which can be followed through to its end – just fragments and hints of what was present.
The hand-writing is a kind of drawing. Lines of words written on top or beside drawings can flatten pictorial depth but the over-laying of lines of words can evoke a sense of spatial depth – they can conjure a sense of rhythm and of movement. The closer the viewer looks the more the work disintegrates into scratches and lines and traces of movement. Drawings – hand-made drawings – are traces of presence and movement and time (life).
None of these drawings can ever really be said to be finished; there is no end-point with these works – they are simply left as they are to be whatever they are. I sometimes rework old drawings but this one is safe from that fate as someone else owns it.
This was one of four drawings recently on show at The Mall Galleries, in London, as part of the ING Discerning Eye Drawing Bursary exhibition. The other artists were: Alexandra Blum, Susannah Douglas, Craig Jefferson, Max Naylor, Daksha Patel and Eithne Twomey.