I make drawings to understand, investigate and describe what I see, using drawing as an underpinning medium in all my work for its directness, purity and simplicity. I enjoy the processes and materials of drawing from the pressure-sensitive slippery graphite molecules sliding from the pencil point onto the paper to the steady scratchy erosion of a piece of charcoal scraping onto a pure white surface.
My graphic and intricate black and white pen or pencil drawings describe intimate details of flowers, from their structure and growing patterns down to the intricacies of the stigma. These drawings are kept carefully, whereas scribbles on scrap paper planning compositions, maps of thought processes or diagrams of screenprint layer ordering get thrown away after their function is over.
Automatic or ‘blind’ drawings (those made without looking at the drawn surface) are developed into complex and colourful layered paintings, papercuts and prints. In these fluid quick drawings the essence of the subject is condensed, enabling a return to a state of visual ‘innocence’ and a sense of intimacy about what is drawn. Lines represent the movement of the eyes while the eyes trace the contour of the subject like fingers. Work emerging from these drawings is expressive, organic, vibrant and lively, forming spontaneous composites resembling a kind of abstracted topography.
All initial drawings are made from life, enabling stereoscopic vision (and a chance to peer around the edge and behind) and demanding intense focus to lay down marks representing the form, the line, the tone and the negative space of and around the object until it becomes a transformed two dimensional image. Time is often a constricting element in making a detailed drawing from organic, slowly growing or decomposing things: flower petals emerge from a gladioli bud almost as you watch, dahlias curl and wilt and a watermelon rots.
Papercut ‘drawings’ use the idea of absence: using a drawing made with pencil, negative space is cut away and the cuts themselves become the new drawn marks, revealing a positive image of solid paper. Choosing the process of making these by hand, rather than machine, is important: constant appraisal of how much to reduce the paper, how many lines of the original drawing need to be cut to produce a satisfactory image, and just the way the cuts are made. I also use drawing as a kind of meditation: to focus; a calming and grounding activity. It can be done with simple materials, anywhere.