Crackle, crackle, crackle
Sometimes all I have to draw on is the small screen of a older version iPhone. I like Zen Brush, a monochrome package building images through layers of greys with pressure sensitive variable brush size in a single stroke. I notice that daubing on a small screen with one finger lends itself to swirls.
These next three were begun in the interval of a play, trying to recreate from memory Ian McKellen as the sly, sometimes ingratiating, sometimes cruel, Spooner in Harold Pinters “No Man’s Land“. Eventually, I was working from various unsatisfactory photographs but never quite caught his likeness or character. I found myself captivated by the sheer scale of his nose.
The following faces were done waiting around during the children’s swimming lessons. One is a surreptitious sketch of a shawled woman either eating or talking in her phone. The other is an imaginary, more abstract visage.
Swirls, spirals and dots seem to lend themselves to astronomical depiction, like looking out onto the vastness of the universe through a very small window.
In the experimental drawing workshops, we worked on two pieces in parallel. The first started as straight non-overlapping lines in charcoal and was posted as “Wildcode“. The second was built from curved lines, always reserving an area of paper free of carbon stains. This was then stored on a rack. When I looked at it a week later, it had acquired an imprint of a piece of metal that was more interesting than the original drawing. I built on that in charcoal layers, then throwing white gouache at it. This is fixed and photographed. I have cropped and tinted the image using Artrage on the iPad.
Last weekend, I watched the film of this book.
It was 3 quid in Tesco.
Since watching it, I found my thoughts are haunted by undercurrents of despair.
Here are depicted human lives of suppressed anguish without rebellion. Their one hope, a false hope, is of salvation by true love, verified through art.
This is not a warning nor yet an allegory. It is a model, a simplified representation of our own spiritual reality.
On the other hand, given my passing thoughts of hopelessness and despair are unutterably trivial when viewed from the vastness of space or the depths of time, it’s time to cheer up. The paintings were done on the iPad in response to the film.
How might it feel in my home town if we walked under constant surveillance from a kilometre in the sky?
If those remote eyes guided missiles?
If any male over 18 years were defined as a legitimate target?
If any gathering of more than three people were viewed as terrorist activity?
How might we live our lives, buy and sell, celebrate and mourn, work and learn, protest and be free in fear of sudden, targeted, guided but blindly lethal attack?
How much or little might our society have to change for this to be thinkable?