Reflections on drawing

Several days of thinking ‘must update my blog’ usually pass before I get round to it.  The plan is always to sit down in the evening with a clear head and a glass of wine and get inspired.  This rarely happens.  The glass of wine always happens, but not the clear head, or even the inspiration.  Today I’ve been wrestling with the current page of my book about the oceans; trying to find a fun way to put across the problems of over-fishing and the environmental impact is taxing to say the least.  I did do a sketch of a fish in a tutu – the fairy cod-mother – well, it’s a start. 

I also had a slight diversion from the task in hand which was rather enjoyable, in the form of a phone call from Julia Jones in Essex, skipper and owner of Arthur Ransome’s original ‘Peter Duck’ ketch amongst many other talents.  Would I be interested in producing an image for the cover of her forthcoming novel ‘The Salt Stained Book’?    I do love a commission that’s just up my creek!  First of course I needed to read the book – this was no hardship as it’s a great story, a modern and quite edgy version of ‘Swallows and Amazons’.  I’m still working on the design, but there’s more about Julia and her various doings on www.golden-duck.co.uk.

More distraction from the business of getting Chapter Two done came my way on Friday as I was booked for an afternoon drawing lesson with the U3A group in Neyland.  It’s always great fun teaching at U3A; everyone speaks their mind and is very up front about what they want to learn. Usually my prepared lesson descends into happy chaos and I just go with the flow.  This was no exception and turned into a bit of a rant about the reason for wanting to draw in the first place – as a means of connecting to somewhere special, spending time, taking the trouble to look properly.  Contrary to what the tv would have us believe, not everthing in life is a competition; we would always like to improve the way we do things, but sketching is a personal process not open to criticism.  Do enough of it and it will get better all by itself.  Life is too short to be frozen into inactivity by the fear of not being good enough!

Here’s my own sketch of a sunlit moment on East Trewent Head on Sunday, when I decided that I’d had enough of writing about the sea and trying to draw it when I hadn ‘t actually been to look at it for months…..

The left side of the page hasn’t scanned as well as the right….. use your imagination!

That’ll do for now… there’s half a glass of wine left and I’m listening to ‘Pentangle’ on cd while the family are involved in something noisy and American on tv in the other room.


2 thoughts on “Reflections on drawing”

  1. Kath says:

    If it’s any consolation, my glasses of wine to blog posts ratio is heavily weighted on the site of Frascati.

    I love the idea of a Fairy Codmother – I definitely think you should pursue that idea! And I’ve added Julia’s book to my Ransome-related TBR pile (yes, he has his own!) thanks to your blog post.

    And I’m going to write “sketching is a personal process not open to criticism. Do enough of it and it will get better all by itself. Life is too short to be frozen into inactivity by the fear of not being good enough!” into my quote book, replacing sketching with writing. Great quote – thank you!!

  2. Ken says:

    Glass of wine – a half at least – seems to work well – love the post, and, remembering, as a child, how much I enjoyed Arthur Ransome’s tales on Windermere and the Broads, the book has me intrigued, especially with you doing the illustrations!

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Anglo-Saxon Inspirations