Sunday, 19 February 2012
cloud formation drawing II
Like the previous image, this drawing would probably have been begun sometime in 2005, or 2006; I remember that I began working on it after my withdrawal from Winchester School of Art. However, it remained unresolved until January of this year; some six years later.
From time to time I take all of the unframed drawings from the boxes in which they are stored, and scrutinise them closely. I decide whether or not to keep them. This process is distinct from the episodes of blind destruction which I visit upon my work in less considered moments.
The drawing above had been on my mind for some months; I couldn't quite bring myself to destroy it, neither could I bring it to a close. Each time I looked at it, I was uneasy, possessed of the desire to resolve it, yet lacking the confidence to do so, unsure of its merits, and perhaps remembering the somewhat noncommittal reactions that had been evident on showing it to some others when I had only just begun working on it. ( How sensitized one becomes to the responses of others, how eager to please, and how much one suffers when approval is not forthcoming! )
In January, having taken the drawing from one of the boxes, I laid it on the floor in the back bedroom, where the boxes of drawings are kept, so that I could look upon it every day on entering the room. One day, I took courage, and removed the drawing downstairs, placing it on the end of the table at which I work when I am able ( alas, not the same carved and inlaid table that was the focus of creative life at the lodge, and at which my partner researched and wrote one of his books, but a modest foursquare construction with draw- leaf plastic top, patterned to look like wood grain) in order to attempt to revise it.
I found that I was quaking with nervousness; the pencil trembled between my fingers; I was conscious of mild palpitations and an uncomfortably dry mouth. The first marks that I made were more or less invisible; it was difficult to direct the pencil with any degree of certainty. I would touch the graphite tip to the surface of the paper hesitantly, unsure of how to proceed, anxious to take the drawing beyond its tentative beginnings, yet worried that I might unwittingly sabotage it.
After a while, I was able to relax, finding comfort in making short, light strokes on the paper, beginning to enjoy the sensation of drawing, the bite of the graphite against the soft, yielding cotton paper, the repetitive, unhurried movements of my hand and fingers. I worked for maybe an hour (it seemed far longer) before being able to decide that the drawing was 'finished', and at least a month elapsed before I felt confident enough to photograph it, and embrace it into the suite of cloud formation drawings, begun so many years ago, in such different circumstances.