Reviewing the situation

Reviewing recent works in progress/abandoned silverpoint drawings in my workspace/studio in MargateIf I could make money from the amount of time and I spend (waste?) working on things that never get to be finished works of art I would be a very, very, rich man.

I tell myself that all the effort will bare fruit in the fullness of time and that all the time and effort is an investment in works of art yet to come.  Somehow or other, in spite of my doubts, I seem to keep the faith and keep on working away at my ideas and drawings.  I couldn’t tell you why.

I’ve dug these silverpoint drawings out of their drawer to look at them and see if looking at them will suggests a possible next move.  I’m showing them here because otherwise they might never be seen or become finished works of art.  These are not finished drawings but they each have their moments: subtle things that suggests possible next moves.

I don’t know.  These drawing are resting.

‘Margate Imperialists 1930s’

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Margate Imperialists 1930s, 2017, silver on gesso on board, 21cm x 30cm.

Work on this drawing has come to an end.  I could carry on working on it but I shan’t.

The drawing is based on a small photographic image on a postcard taken somewhere in Margate in the 1930s.  My guess is that the people here were dressed for an Empire Day event.  This is one of a number of drawings based on the same image.  It is one of a series of drawings based on images of people dressed in costumes of some sort and with a Margate connection.

 

Drawings in progress

on margate sands...

In a Margate junk shop I can connect anything with anything.

A lot of my work draws on people and things connected with Margate.  A recurring theme is the way in which the slightest things in life, and the humblest objects that exist, can be linked to, and imply the presence of, the world’s biggest events.

Here is a picture of some works in progress captured in a moment of a Margate sunset light.  These silverpoint drawings are based on found photographs taken in Germany in the 1930s.  Somehow they made their way into a secondhand shop in Cliftonville in 2017.  And from there they came into my hands.

There was a point in time when a momentary look was captured in the instant of a photographic image.  Now, here, l am taking time to look at those traces of those moments in those people’s lives and drawing – I could almost say conjuring – something out of them.  We’ll see what comes of it.

I shall post more about this work as it develops further.

You can see earlier images of this work on Instagram.

Teaching Life Drawing at the Margate Adult Education Centre, Hawley Square, and at The Sidney Cooper Gallery in Canterbury.

You can book a place on the Margate Adult Education Centre Life Drawing courses via the Kent Adult Education website here: https://www.kentadulteducation.co.uk/brands/mnid_123/Mr-Roy-James-Eastland.aspx   and you can book places on for the Sidney Cooper Gallery courses by going to their website.

Drawings like little poems

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Drawings can be like little poems; they can stand alone as intensely troubled-over, individual, works of art in their own right.

This tiny drawing is of a chalk stack at Botany Bay near to where I live.  The piece is about 5cm by 6.5cm in size and it is drawn with silver on gesso on card.  I might make a series of drawings of this stone.  We’ll see.  This work stands on its own but it shares themes in common with lots of my work: presence and the passing of time.

The tides and the weather are slowly eroding this chalk stack away to nothing.  In time it will no longer figure in anyone’s line of sight.  This familiar (familiar to me at least) feature on the high tide line makes me think about time and about change over the course of time – it can stand for that.

 

Preparing to make new art work

folkestone-gotha-bomber-air-raid-25th-may-1917-tontine-streetI’m about to start on a new body of work and it’s going to take a lot of time.  My drawings take for ever to do.  It’s not just that the drawings that take a long time, it’s also that the work requires a lot of preparation and research even before making a mark.  A lot of the time my research doesn’t bare fruit as finished works of art (n fact, the majority of my work ends up as unfinished and abandoned) but this is how it is for me and this is my way of working: so be it.  I work within my means and so this will progress slowly as time and money allow.  I sometimes return to subjects after long periods of time of not working on them.  The May 1917 air raid (the so-called ‘Great Folkestone Air Raid’) is something I’ve repeatedly returned to and which I imagine I shall continue to return to for years to come.

Here are some images of work which has already seen the light of the gallery space and which I hope will be given more opportunities to be seen in exhibitions in the future.

This piece is called: “They looked like silver birds.  The sun was shining on them…”  The title comes from words of an eye witness account of seeing the German bombers high up in the early evening sun light and remembering that they looked like silver birds.  It was selected for The 2013 Jerwood Drawing Prize and it has also been shown in other exhibitions, including: ‘Telling Stories: Hastings’ (in Margate as an off-shoot of an exhibition at the Hastings Museum and Art Gallery curated by the writer and artist Cathryn Kemp); East Kent Artists’ Open Houses; ‘Remembering: We Forget’ (The Sidney Cooper Gallery, Canterbury), curated by Hazel Stone; and at the Pie Factory gallery space in Margate.

I hope this work will be shown in Folkestone one day.

Click on ‘Folkestone’ on the list of categories to see more.

If anyone out there happens to have any family stories connected with the air raid I would love to hear from you!

Go to the ‘about me’ section of this blog to find links to social media and my email address.  You can also write a comment at the bottom of this post.

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A new term of Life Drawing

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It’s at this time of year, as the new academic term is about to start, that I start to get anxious about student numbers and worry about whether of not the Life Drawing courses I teach, the ones I teach at Margate Adult Education Centre, will run or not.  If they don’t run I don’t get paid, and so I worry about money as too.

Margate Adult Education Centre is not well known locally.  It’s a shame because the Margate Adult Education Centre is such a lovely building, it has purpose built art rooms and its right in the centre of Margate.  It was built as an art college (an F.E. college) way back in 1929 (opened in 1931).  The room I teach Life Drawing in is the same room in which Life Drawing was taught from the 1930s until about 1970, when it became the ‘Hilderstone’ Adult Education Centre, and has continued to be used as a Life Room until now.  I’m the latest of a long succession of artists to teach Life Drawing in this space going back eighty-five years!

If rooms have ghosts then I’d like to imagine that this room’s ghosts are happiest whenever someone is in there drawing.  The room’s wooden, herringbone-pattern, floor is drawn with decades’ worth of scratches and scuffs from the dragged feet of easels, chairs and tables.  Scratches like this are a kind of drawing – they trace the presence of the others who were here before.

A dais, which models sometimes pose on, is the same dais pictured in a photograph of Portrait Drawing class taken in the room in 1931.   The teacher seen in the photograph advising a student is ‘Mr Willis’.  I’ve spoken to people who were students here in the early 1960s and all have fond memories of ‘Mr Willis’ (he was still teaching there until about 1964).  He would confiscate students’ rubbers (erasers for those of you who speak American English) if they used them too much in their drawings.  I wouldn’t go quite that far in my teaching practice but I like the idea.  The great Walter Sickert gave three talks on drawing in the building in 1934.  Sickert also insisted that students draw without rubbing out and to draw quickly, at least at the start of a drawing.  Mr Willis will have attended those lectures.

We have to change our minds when we draw and the mistakes are just the evidence of those changes – they are virtuous things really and they need to be in play in our drawings if we are to make an honest drawing.  When we begin a drawing of someone we don’t really know what we are in the presence of.  We think we do but we don’t.  We think we know what a person looks like but our first thoughts are usually just our habits of seeing and our drawing-tricks.  We have to be prepared to change our minds about what we think we are in the presence of if we have any hope of getting our drawings to resemble our thoughts and perceptions.

Anyway, I’m hoping they’ll be enough students for the courses to be allowed to run and I wait to find out.

If you’re reading this and you live within striking distance of Margate, and fancy coming to my Life Drawing classes, go onto the Kent Adult Education website (https://www.kentadulteducation.co.uk/brands/mnid_123/Mr-Roy-James-Eastland.aspx) or find my facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Roy-Eastland-1495390357351370/) or twitter (https://twitter.com/royeastlanddraw).  I’ll be teaching courses here next term and in the future (including some all-day Saturday workshops).  I’ll also be teaching Life Drawing at the Sidney Cooper Drawing Studio in Canterbury (Canterbury Christ Church University).