Painting without any drawing. Easy to talk about but, for me, difficult to do. So now I’m parallel planning two paintings and can report so far so good. Gill, one of my students brought in Dale Berning’s interview with William Kentridge. William Kentridge is talking about the often troubled relationship between drawing and painting, which for him is no trouble at all. This is because he commits fully and ardently to the process of drawing in and of iself. In this straightforward and direct interview he is both clear and inspiring about the importance of drawing as completely independent of other outcomes.Once I stopped to think about it, I could clearly see this in his work. Here’s part of what he says, but it’s worth visiting the Guardian site to read all of it :
“I work closely with different kinds of references. I have a collection of images and things to which I refer throughout my working process. I find my visual imagination is always less interesting than those things I’ve discovered in looking at the specifics of details. If one can hold on to the specific, it almost always is more interesting.”
He says that the observation of specific details gives “authority” to a drawing. I’ve always felt this too, which is why I get annoyed with people being snotty about “representative” art because they think it has to be literal and obvious and can’t be “abstract” or “conceptual”. For William Kentridge the process of drawing has to be fast otherwise it gets stuck. Maybe it’s a matter of temperament, but for me it is more important for the drawing process to be slow and meditative. But he’s totally right that it must be rooted in the actual all the time.Today, a day of thin layers over the sharp drawing and opaque white. Creating the weather in the empty spaces around the drawing, linear drawing can be sterile unless it is inside an ecosystem. This one is just paint :
Simple process really, applying printmaking techniques to painting. Using a roller to apply thin areas of tone and colour, and wiping back with a soft rag. This one is paint over charcoal drawing :
I find it really inspiring, to have a negotiable surface which can add tone or colour and then wipe back in the same way that you can erase back into a tonal charcoal drawing. Had a lot of fun and even breathed new life into a painting that had paused …
This one began with that amazing line in Paradise Lost where Lucifer says “Awake, arise, or be forever fallen. ” Milton’s devil might just be the first modern hero. Back to watching paint dry now and then an hour on the boat .. This weekend I’m making a film prop, for an independent project called “See”.