Wednesday 15 February 2023

Various bits and pieces

 At least for the moment, I have decided to tone down all efforts at producing or selling marketable work. It's much more fun doing whatever I feel like, and so, I have been doing some of that, mostly in the form of pencil or ballpoint pen sketches of various things - whatever struck me as visually interesting. 

I have also rediscovered the joys of working from direct observation rather than reference photos. Not to mention, in the absence of any pressure to produce stuff I can sell, working with the cheapest of materials. These are all smallish sketches on common old printer paper.

Of South Africa's once impressive rail system, preciously little is left nowadays. Sad, perhaps, but it also resulted in lots of derelict buildings, a subject which I have always found very enticing for both photography and art. Someone posted a photo of one such slowly disintegrating station building on Twitter, and I made a sketch of it, in ballpoint pen:

In the west we have a strange love-hate relationship with technology. We want our laptops and microwaves and such, but we don't want to see any sign of the industries that produce or power them. And thus, we paint pretty pictures of flower gardens, but heaven forbid we use grimy industry as subject matter. 

Well, not so with me, particularly now that I no longer care whether my work sells or indeed whether anyone else likes it. Personally I find industry quite beautiful - it's the very engine of civilization. Hence, a sketch of electric pylons silhouetted against a sunset sky:

Vincent van Gogh painted this little Dutch Reformed Church in his home town early in his career. The building still exists, so I decided to emulate the great if crazy painter by making a version in pencil. Alas, my attempt cannot compete with his:

And some random stuff sketched from life:

I sketched these tomatoes in the garden, in a sketchbook. To prevent the graphite from smudging I sprayed it with a layer of fixative, but this had the effect of rendering the paper partially transparent, so a watercolor sketch on the other side shows through. So we learn: from now on, I'll use only one side if I'm going to spray fixative!

For this wooden toy truck, I experimented with combining ballpoint pen and graphite pencil. I rather like the result: