Sunday, 28 August 2011

Kefalonia - First

I've completed my large piece of work exploring many nuances of graphite tone and texture. It is based on a number of views of the Ionian Island of Kephalonia as seen from the deck of a boat.

View from the ferry between the towns of Argostoli and Lixouri, looking inland 
 The photo above gave me a lot of the structure and some of the tonal variety, but I also worked from a number of sketches I did on our various boat trips.

The final piece measuring 60cm x 215cm

The work was achieved using graphite sticks, and some water soluble graphite on Fabriano paper which was torn and collaged prior to drawing. The concept had been to work in layers; each layer representing a layer of landscape, and each layer providing the possibility of exploring markmaking in different ways and with a variety of intensity. Kephalonia is an island whose landscape and structure has developed due to lying on an earthquake fault line. In the past the island has suffered very badly; most recently in 1953 when most of the houses were flattened by a devastating earthquake. I intended the fragmented look of the final piece to echo this history.

View of drawing is studio, to give a sense of size
This closeup shows some of the structure of the hillsides,
the 'v' shaped valleys carved out by running water,
and the flattened areas created by landslips.
The peaks of the hills often seem smoothed and rounded by erosion.

This second close up shows the rocks where they meet the sea.
All around the coast it is possible to see these jagged,
fractured rocks diagonally slicing out of the sea.
It is quite easy to imagine the force of the earthquakes pushing the plates of rock out and upwards.
I wanted this area to be strong and heavy in its mark making.
Then above this the tall straight pines rise up out of the lush valleys
and spread to spike out of the hilsides

This image is now going to be shown in Cheddar at a small exhibition of drawing, exploring the work of the Out/Lines post-graduate drawing group, of which I am a member, connected to the Advanced Centre in Drawing (ACiD) at the University of West England.

 The show runs for one week only, preview is Thursday 1st September, and the show is open from the 2nd - 8th September, 1-5pm only. If you are close to Cheddar it would be great to see you at Chestnut Farm Studio, Kent Street, Cheddar, BS27 3LG.
Further info at
Link to ACiD

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Extraordinary Graphite

I have been experimenting with graphite mark making for a new, large scale piece of work. It has been a joy to play freely with graphite sticks and stumps and various erasers, including putty rubbers. The marks that can be achieved are extraordinary and extremely seductive. The soft changes of tone have captivated me at the moment, and the tonal change from black back to white have inspired new approaches.

The last slide shows how I have begun to explore the possibilities of over drawing with scaled up marks that I found in my sketchbook.
All these images come from one piece of work, the making of which is a fascinating journey and I have not yet reached the end. Next post hopefully will reveal the finished piece.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Kefalonia sketchbook

I have just returned from a much needed break in the sun - and there are few better places to rest and recuperate than Kefalonia.

Of course my sketchbook went with me and after a few days I got itchy sketching fingers.

These sketches were done from a boat looking towards the coastline. The boat trips chug up the stretch of sea between Kefalonia and its sister island of Ithaca. It was a good challenge to draw while the landscape was moving along in front of me - a good way of sorting out which marks are important.

Cloud bruised hills

green napped and threadbare

pine plush hills

The landscape rises up out of the sea, as mountain peaks would. It really makes you think about what lies below the water.

This double page was done looking out from a cafe in the village of Katelios. The landscape layers and folds itself down towards the water.

I have a project in mind for some of these sketches and photos, something large scale and layered.

This is a close up of some of the marks from the first sketch. I'm intrigued by the nature of these marks and how they will work when enlarged, and combined in layers. Sketching fingers itching again...