Here be Midnight

Friday, 23 March 2012

Bristles and Whiskers

Another busy week leaves me less time to paint than I would like. My days are broken into so many chores that all that is left are scraps of time, ragged moments, too small for me to settle and paint. Sketch books are great for the snippets of time in between the 'must do's' and 'should do's'. Or those patches of waiting where none of the do's can be done and time just ambles along regardless of my impatience.
The quickest sketches I draw take only seconds to complete. I will often do some during a life class or a portrait class if I have finished my 'proper' piece and have time to spare. I love to capture my fellow artists whilst they are concentrating on their work. There is something mesmerising about their intense focus that renders them almost unaware of their surroundings.  I always try to keep my gaze soft, so as not to attract attention to myself but sometimes I'm not sure that it's necessary.

Here are some quickies from this weeks class;

These sketches take probably no more than 30 seconds, if that.  The eyes explore the subject and the hand responds via pencil on paper without thought or judgement. There is something that happens to the line in these brief drawings, where response to the subject is uninhibited by mind. It is more expressive. A squiggle that shouldn't describe an eye does exactly that. It never ceases to fascinate me when it happens.

My hand and eyes seem to have a memory of their own. In the days after my classes, sometimes my sketches reflect the characteristics that I have seen earlier in the week, all be it exaggerated by an over active imagination. Below is a little sketch from today, drawn whilst sitting in the sunshine amidst birdsong, tulips and furry companions.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Life's Curly Tale

My life's curly tale has a kink in it. It is swollen and sore and throbbing. Some would say I have a 'nose' for adventure, others a 'nose' for trouble. I am known to take huge leaps of faith and frighten the death out of myself and everyone around me. Luckily I am also known for landing on my feet. But the mid-air terrors are always just that, terrifying. In these difficult times it is easy to become consumed with fear and sadness so I try to remain aware of each passing moment which never fails to show me that there is still happiness  amongst it all. 

An afternoon stroll with my daughter, her beloved camera and a hefty dose of silliness caught such a moment. She has created a stop-motion portrait, what a lovely idea. 

What magical medicine laughter is...

Friday, 9 March 2012

Pondering the Proboscis

Lately I have begun to wonder why I have a tendency to draw characters with big noses.  If I put pencil to paper, to draw a face, 8 times out of 10 it will end up with an abnormally large and interestingly shaped honker. My inner psychoanalyst said 'there must be something in this' and so I turned to Guru Google. 
A small amount of googling threw up predictable results; Freud thinks it has something to do with sex, hmmm, no surprises there. Some people suggest it is a symbol of curiosity and inquisitiveness, hence the saying 'keep your nose out of this'.  Still others suggest it is the seat of the sixth sense, a symbol of energy, intuitive wisdom and instinctive knowledge, 'The nose knows' or ' A nose for a bargain'.
In Edmund Rostands Cyranno de Bergerac, Cyranno asserts that "A great nose is the banner of a great man, a generous heart, a towering spirit, an expansive soul - such as I unmistakably am..."
Chinese physiognomy, (Face reading), uses the shape and size of the nose to predict character and fortune.

So I took all this away with me and deliberated and cogitated... 

To me big noses are interesting and funny. I often associate them with old age and kindness; intuition and wisdom, though not always. It's hard to ignore the fact that a lot of 'baddies', whether it be the film or book variety, have a hooked and bony nose. These boney protrusions, accentuated by some large and 'V' shaped eyebrows enhance their sense of menace. However, the most predominant feeling I get when I see someone with a sizeable and characterful nose is that they will have more and better stories to tell. As though somehow the shape of their nose has given them a privileged pass to a life of greater adventure than those people with smaller, more ordinary noses. Every bump, nook and hook that passes me in the street is like a beautiful mountain peak, far off in that distant land called other people's lives. Each one full of secret trails, twisting and turning passed spectacular views, elusive wild creatures and deep dark ravines.   I know it's not rational- not even close- but that's how it is.

A Peak at the Cuillins

The little painting below is definitely 'nose' oriented.



A Nose For Trouble.

Another brave pathfinder, she mused scornfully.
He has all the implements he needs to survive strapped to his belt, now they are utterly useless. Why do they come here? Why do they even bother? Fortnights and moonlights they spend drifting amongst the trees, hoping for sign or footprint of the Maker. They do not fathom that he leaves no trace for the sceptic, only messages for the faithful. Should I just let him go?
The Forest Imp felt momentary shame at her heartlessness, before she swelled with compassion. Clutching the young explorer's wrists with strength remarkable for her size, she hauled him to safety as she had done for all who came before him.
"Stay at home," she hissed, "you will learn more that way".

Original size 150mm x 130mm