Saturday, 1 October 2011

nimbostratus I

This drawing was made in 2006, whilst living in rural Hampshire, and is one of only a handful of cloud drawings remaining from that period. I drew clouds from remembered observation without distinguishing acceptable work from poor, and without thinking very much, just producing a goodly number of drawings. I remember experiencing a sense of exalted self belief, which I subsequently came to understand as having been most spurious. Later, overcome by embarrassement at having produced much work that was bad, or at best mediocre, without recognising it as such, and suffering a consequent devastating failure of self esteem, I destroyed most of the drawings, just retaining a few.
This survivor was made on Somserset Velvet, a cotton printmaking paper, soft and yielding to the touch, satisfying my particular desire to use materials that have distinct tactile qualities. Making the drawing was a sensuous experience, as I used graphite powder, in tiny amounts, gradually smoothing and rubbing the glossy, mobile powder into the surface of the paper, before using a pencil to draw in fine , short lines.
I am hoping that it is now possible to rediscover that sense of self belief, whilst yet retaining an insight into the the true qualities of the work being made, recovering also the feeling of sensory pleasure I experienced, perhaps to return to making drawings of clouds, this time with greater discernment, and purpose.
I think that I need to have an idea of the finished work, whilst allowing the drawing to develop in its own terms; I need to be watchful, mindful, and yet flexible enough in my approach to allow for, and to harness the unexpected. Above all, I must not expect perfection, and must be prepared for failure. I have a desperately uncomfortable relationship with both of these extremes, always striving for perfection, yet always regarding myself as a failure. Perhaps a resumption of the making of cloud drawings would be therapeutic, affording me an escape from the impasse in which I find myself.

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