‘The moving body performs the drawing in time and space beyond the realm of two-dimensions…As the skipper, the artist attempts to steer the drawing into waters and winds most conducive to sustaining the trajectory of its flow…Somewhere between control and letting go, somewhere between affecting and being affected – the event of sailing, of drawing and of being.’ (Cocker: 2012: xi)
Between projects I began a series of small meditative drawings in my sketchbook (above). With these drawings I allowed myself to respond to the pulses within my mind and body including: breathing, heart, flow and subtle shifts of thought. The idea of a repeated mantra translated as a rhythmical line was considered. Material was varied between biro pen, pencil and colour pencil. These drawings were annotated with media used, time and date. ‘After Coffee’ shows some interesting fluctuations within the lines over a short period of time.
Around this time I had been reading about the Abstract Expressionist Cy Twombly, an artist who has always interested me but has always been on the periphery of my vision. To fully engage with this work, let alone try to mimic it, always seemed like a massive undertaking with its complex and seemingly impenetrable system of symbols and motifs. The times when I have taken inspiration from Twombly’s work in the past have been mainly superficial. One such time can be viewed below, where I experimented with a repeated motif (my signature) on various textures with a variety of media as part of my teacher training.
Catching a description about how Twombly, in his early work, used to literally work in the dark I set out to produce some blind drawings of my own, in the dark. Working in this way was new to me. I had of course created ‘blind’ drawings before but never on such a scale and never with these materials (Acrylic and water-colour paint, pencil and graphite) in the dark. I found the process quite profound, meditative, physical and sensual. Imagination came into play with the memory and reality of touch, surface and texture pronounced. The work became more effective the more I became unaware of my surroundings and immersed in the experience. To see these drawings once the light was turned on was hugely rewarding and it was as if I could experience and relive the process once again. From this new perspective it gained a visceral quality conjuring the memory of the experience. There is massive potential for this way of working yet I am currently unsure how I could incorporate it into the 50-hour drawing process.
Alongside these pieces I tried similar methods using random, instinctual visualization.
‘Memory is a matrix…It is a moving, unstable and ephemeral language that is continually renewed, but eternally recognized and decoded.’ (Dyens: 2012: 78)
Staying in the realm of Twombly I had the urge to produce a drawing based on a phrase that I had previously attempted to use in my work (digitally). The phrase is a loop, a Möbius strip:
The act of repeating and layering this phrase…
Concealing, layering, revealing (something different)
Obliterate to create
to reveal something new
The use of different materials for each layer suggests change (of time and mood), each layer (material) responding to the previous in varying ways. The present affects the past that will in turn affect the future. The act was meditative yet draining.
The finished piece – Static yet moving, patterns are being revealed. Remnants of the past can be seen but are distorted and live a life of their own, viewed through present and future. This is the effect that I am contemplating for the 50-hour drawing.