Drawing materials


Dance. Watercolor on paper, 2020.

After a reasonably frustrating day when it seemed as though everything I was doing had no real sense of form, I finally went back to working with a fibre tipped pen. After that things seemed to come into focus again. How much of what we do depends on a comfortable familiarity with materials and is this familiarity at all helpful?
So much of the artist’s work revolves around materials, the smudged
resonance of charcoal, the deep black of Chinese ink, the heady perfume of oil paint that one can easily be seduced by materials and in the end it is perhaps something else that one should be pursuing. The big question is exactly what this is.
Whenever I am asked to categorize myself, am I a figurative artist or an
abstract one or any of the myriad types of artist that seem to exist, I tend to
reply that I am a materialist. Not a materialist in the sense of gathering wealth but a materialist in the deep response that I feel to the materials of art.
This response to materials is just the beginning of the journey though and
there is still much that needs to be understood and here I am talking about my own understanding that needs to be clarified, not that of anyone else. What is it that brings me back to the canvas, to the drawing board, to the lump of clay?
It is a compelling question and it is one that I hope to begin to clarify in writing this blog. It has been said that one makes art in the same way that one writes a diary. Perhaps I should be more careful in the dating of my work.