Sometimes it’s just nice to return to simple paper and pencil drawings. The immediacy and versatility of graphite allows for a range of mark-making that can range from crisp and bold, to light and ethereal.
These drawings are just a few that I did over a three month period before dismantling my life in Windsor and moving to a new city. Soon after, COVID-19 struck and things never quite got back to normal.
My goal for now is to just get back into the creative flow with the most basic of media.
I am emerging from a long pause where deep healing, deep reflection, and much needed self-care were needed.
Babies are born, loved ones die, life as we know it often shifts into a new and unfamiliar reality. We adjust… and my own process is slow. Very slow.
During this extended transitional period, my creative output appeared to wane, while energies regrouped and turned inward. I am not yet ready to speak of my grief and what it has taught me.
Now, finally… outward flowing creative energy is once again manifesting. And I am delighted and grateful for my many blessings.
In late January I felt compelled to pull out an old sketchbook and get back to my roots. I was curious to see if I had lost my touch, and I also wanted to re-establish some kind of a daily practice. This was a good strategy, because it worked, and now I wish that I had done some of those drawings on better paper. Yes, the paper is important. This is what my daily practice is looking like today.
Below is a work in progress (Graphite on Stonehenge paper). During my painting years, I worked in charcoal on occasion, but never went back to the humble pencil. Until now.
MOODY, EMOTIONAL WORK is the core of what drives me as a content creator. I think, I write, I create in various media, yet the same aesthetic values invariably lead to similar processes and conclusions. There is only one muse.
My long-standing enthusiasm for digital technology has been a rewarding and fruitful journey. In 2012 I had a solo exhibition of artworks created exclusively on an iPhone. The device seems limitless in its creative potential. One of my favourite apps is Hipstamatic, which I’m currently using to replicate the look and feel of old daguerreotypes and tintypes. While the results are engaging in their own right, my usual habit is to push and explore – thus branching off in parallel directions, but still retaining the emotional impact of the original images.
As I explained yesterday in my blog post essay, in addition to the rich, imperfect appearance of daguerreotypes, what intrigues me most about early 19th century portraiture is that it was able to dissolve the protective masks behind which most people conceal their inner selves. This was due to the super-long exposure times required. Nobody said “cheeeeese.” They just sat or stood motionless until the photographer signalled that the process was complete. So without the aid of a practiced “camera smile” to camouflage their true emotions, the camera ultimately captured a more “honest” portrait.
AS AN ARTIST, I have often used myself as the model in my work because the themes originate from my own complicated, inner experiences. As such, using the tintype approach for this emerging body of work is the right fit because it conveys the mood so perfectly and unapologetically. To be genuinely authentic is to embrace and celebrate the beauty of our imperfect selves, and the tintype seems particularly suited for this purpose.
Applying a technique I’ve previously used to deconstruct and abstract photos of orchids, the series below (including the three images at the top of this page) was created by magnifying selected tintype images in order to achieve new and interesting compositions. The resulting portraits are confined to only partial views of the face, but enough is still visible to retain a sense of intimacy and the mood which informs all of the works in the Naked Truths Project. It will be exciting to see how all the pieces fit in the final completed ensemble.