spirals and dots

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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low wall, Skye

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Here is another small sketch, started in the café during my son’s swimming lesion, using conte crayons and a cool grey brushpen.  Later, I re-suspended and covered the dry pigments in white gouache and scraped back into this to build the sky and loch.  I recreated the white highlights and the bright white wall with knife and eraser, lifting off the paper surface.

The photograph is nearly 60 years old, monochrome of course, and shows my mother, perhaps on honeymoon, in Scotland.

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I have found myself drawing in the evenings more frequently, small sketches from imagination or photographs, in a pocketsize moleskine watercolour book.  The paper is tough and takes some rough treatment, textured so it catches the pigment from the conte crayons.

This sketch was done over two days.  It started as an image of trees reflected on water, suggested by outsideauthority’s recent post.  I overloaded it with crayon, wet it and ripped at it, repaired it by gluing it to the page beneath and left it to dry.  Next day I turned it by 90 degrees, painted into the dark areas with white gouache, sparing the virgin white where I had torn off the pigmented layers.  I drew back into this surface with strong strokes of crayon, brushpen and watercolour.

It says something of the apocalyptic feelings which are haunting me.