Procrastinations of a working man

 21 January 17

As a colour blind artist (please get the sniggering out of the way now please) I have always predictably struggled with the application of colour to my drawings and it’s underlying theory (theory meaning philosophically as opposed the science of light in this context).

Since making the seismic shift into applying colour to my work (from exclusively black and white) I had thought the best approach would be to use haphazard combinations of very bright colours (something I can discern mostly) which I think has served me pretty well in the confidence and development stakes – however, I have little or no idea how people – with what I would term normal colour vision see my drawings…are they garish? Jarring? Who knows? The thing is I cannot really analyse this with any accuracy is really where my problem with colour presents itself.

I have started to have some thoughts on beginning to refine this steamroller of colour I have been travelling upon. What I really want to do is understand what I am doing more completely and form a better idea of how someone viewing the drawing is likely to see it…I know that I have stumbled into a hugely subjective area but the careful manipulation of colour will help me to add further depth to what I am doing and allow me to explore an idea more fully. I.e. Red – anger, blue sad etc…

I think I need to:

Use basic colours (at the very least at first) and understand there basic meanings in the wider world and what they mean to me, something I have will fully neglected up until this point.

Explore how colours work together, the potential message they convey and do they fit with what I’m trying to achieve.

I want to refine what I see as bright, jarring colour which I have been using. I will say though that one of the reasons I used this type of colour is because I wanted to convey energy and life, a microcosm of life and energy if you like.

So with all this in mind I will tell you about the next tentative step…the rotring isograph. I bought one of these pens a long time ago and was probably a little intimidated by it because of all the variables it carries, mix your own colour, refill, reusable etc so never used it, got to know it and on top of that it had to be cleaned and maintained- I took the easy route. After the pencil I became accustomed to disposable fine line pens which have served with distinction, especially the Sakura Pigma Microns, great tips, archival quality inks and appear to be pretty lightfast – but the main problem is the massive limitations in respect of choice of colours, I tried all sorts of others but I never really trusted them. This left me in no mans land so I was forced to take the leap into the unknown – mixing my own colours in a pen I need to clean.

So after a few times of trying and giving up, reverting back to the trusty microns I ended with a couple of pens not used and filthy. This had to stop so I have now cleaned them and am determined to make them my primary instrument. Why? I have since discovered that the line quality is incredible, obviously the whole colour thing and the precision is not matched by anything else I have ever tried. Watch this space as I am sure making this change will send my drawings in another direction.

The drawing at the top of the page (I think) is beautiful because of the stark black and white, but how about if it were subtlety coloured?  Exciting times.

Watch this space.

Thank you as always for taking the time to read my ramblings.

www.stuartbelton.com
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Twitter: @stu01621
stu.belton@aol.co.uk

 16 January 17

Just a quick random post.  I’m sure I’m not alone here in saying all I ever seem to see are people with necks craned and hunched over a smartphone – this unfortunately is an all too common sight in my house.  So during a period when our household wifi speed was that of the average glacier it prompted me to think about some one of the benefits of drawing.  (I know drawing can take many, many different and complicated forms but for me it is a simple mark making process).  This technical disaster happened whilst I was doing some light drawing so I was completely unaffected by this occurrence.  This led me to think just how lucky I feel to love something like drawing.  From early man daubing and recording life on the walls of a cave in southern France and Africa or on rocks in Australia it is an amazing thought to think I’m basically doing the same thing, my work (in principle) requires no technology – just a pen or pencil and paper but technically could be done anywhere and on anything – for instance on the wall of a cave…interesting thought as I’ve often thought about transferring my work onto the streets…okay not quite the same rocks in Australia – but you see the link.

I apologise for the slightly bizarre ramblings here but as I’ve stated before I use this blog sometimes to reflect and look for answers as to what else I could possibly try out.  Maybe a different substrate could be interesting?

Thank you for reading.

 

 

 12 January 17

Whilst scrolling aimlessly through my Instagram page I had the thought that the throwaway society that we have now begun to live in has rubbed off on the way we choose to view art. Instead of picking up a book or committing some time to visit a gallery a phone or tablet is an easier option, what I mean is this kind of sucks the quality out of the whole experience of looking at art…standing where the artist had once stood, it’s astounding how different art can look in the flesh when compared to its image on a screen. An obvious statement but so true. Who has not been staggered by the sheer scale of a painting or sculpture before in the past or even how painterly some appears, subtle chisel marks or how a piece operates in a certain space…all this is lost on a screen.

For the record I think about the internet and social media as a fantastically powerful tool for the artist, but I also think it has some pitfalls as well – how big (or small) are they – I don’t know so I decided to explore this thought a little.

Pro. Massive potential exposure to a global audience, galleries, collectors etc…all at the touch of a button.

Pro or con. Now I’m not too sure what camp this falls into? Social media allows and the internet in general allows the viewer to scroll quickly through images without really looking at the work, I could say that this opens the art world to individuals that would not normally step foot into a gallery but the thing with stepping foot into a gallery is that the viewer is likely to appreciate the work more, the size, the craftsmanship, the tiny details and texture. Even an extreme zoom facility doesn’t even come close to an “in the flesh” view.

Pro. Networking opportunities with other artists or people interested in things or themes that an artist works with.

Pro. Seeing what other artists are doing that would otherwise be inaccessible- for instance artists in far flung countries with no or no exposure.

Con. Even more competition from artists all over the world.
Moving on from that brief brainstorming of thoughts…

In other news I have managed to finish a large drawing (photo annoyingly to follow at some point), the work on it has been intersected with work on other large pieces and some smaller ones as well (as I have said before keeping several pieces on the go at once keeps the studio fresh and I always look forward to working on each one). Along with the conquer of this drawing I have also reworked two smaller sketches.

Sometimes I feel as if I could stay in my studio all night, tonight was one of those nights, I usually work in there at the weekends and several week nights after work and become so engrossed in what I am doing that I have to tear myself away so as to be able to function the next day at work. Tonight I worked with absolutely no interruption, I literally sat down and seconds later the pen was weaving about the paper. It was a very pure drawing experience, the essence of why I love – really love what I do.

I was alone and focused completely on each line I navigated through the plethora of other marks, as the lines pulled and pushed and pushed their way onto the paper my vision was tunnelled on what, how and why I would do next? I have had the privilege of conducting some of the most fluid and lucid drawing since I have had a studio – long may it continue…

Thank you as always for reading.

 08 January 17

A candid look at what happened after graduation from the safety of art school.

As an art school graduate I was at one point part of the artworks system – albeit at undergraduate level. In wondrous naivety I used to think being an artist was realistically a mixture of producing work – in my case drawings, exhibiting and selling if lucky and the opportunity to schmooze with other people involved in the art world (with a probable dose of poverty and unrelated work thrown in for good measure. Very nice – maybe a reality for some?

My reality and what course I was and am on…

* Graduate and continue to work, albeit on a diminished scale and level of ambition.

* Life gets in the way and studio mentality, artistic work ethic slowly erodes to thoughts only and good intentions. 

* Long periods of static inactivity ensue (artistically speaking).

* Waves of guilt follow and the thought of what could have been plague my thoughts and torment me at every turn. Resentment and self loathing set in as feelings of being cheated out of my lifelong passion – by myself.

* Sporadic and unambitious work begins in front of the TV as a way to occupy my free time.

* Long period of inactivity.

* Can no longer ward off feelings of guilt and failure with the added sense that my beloved degree years have amounted to nothing – intensified by a deeply unfulfilling job. (I will include the caveat that I have always been lucky and looked after in my 9-5 job working with mostly decent people). 

* Tentatively begin to work again in the knowledge that I need to somehow climb the mountain to rebuild some kind of practice and work with a more ambitious set of outcomes. Not easy around a busy family and work life.

* Establish regular practice and discipline to work – lifelong passion reignites in a big way.

* Think long and hard about my approach to my situation and why I am in it. Take a long hard look at myself, urrgghh – and realise I can only even begin to dream of making this work if I am prepared to work – really work and stop living in a fantasy land in which I have managed to blame everything I have not achieved on outside circumstances and powers I cannot control.

* Slowly begin to work on slightly more ambitious pieces – realising that for me raising the bar is like a canal lock – it must be done slowly to maintain integrity.

* Establish an actual studio and see work develop at a pace that rivals the degree development (in my book a period in an artist life where things change with intense rapidity before settling into a stride)

* I’m now in a position where I have a modest studio, a website and made several sales along with the confidence to apply to exhibit work. Whilst I can hardly call myself a success where my art is concerned – for me and my journey I am moving in the right direction. 

After that digression I now consider myself to be an artworks outsider – I basically have no art world connections and no real interactions with other artists, I am for all intents and purposes making my work alone, but you know what? I’m completely okay with that right now. I am working hard and constantly making work I am proud of. That to me is the most important thing – the constant and ever changing love of art.

Thanks as always for reading.

 02 January 17

Good evening and Happy New Year to you all.

This blog entry will be slightly disjointed and I will jump from one thing to the next – apologies, I have a lot to share with you and not much time.

So whilst in the studio over the Christmas period I have come to think that some of my drawings is an art of accumulation, an art of collecting marks…watching, nurturing and ensuring they grow. I guess this falls neatly in with how I have thought about my work for years and the originals concepts that interested me. The gradual but unyielding passage of time along amongst other things that I won’t go into and bore you with again! So anyway, this thought – to me at least is a very pleasing one.

Meanwhile back at the studio…I have been involved recently in a lot of studio sessions where to the naked eye (via photograph uploaded onto various social media sites) not much is progressing, this is probably something to do with the fact that my work is extremely labour intensive coupled with the fact that I’m quite slow in producing them (deep breath) and…working full time. So I’m wandering, rather plodding through a restricted creative nirvana and I think to myself all these hours and I cannot show real progression, hmm, then I thought it it the constant motion that drives us all forward – regardless of speed, after all glaciers change everything – given enough time!

I am always looking to try different things in my practice – not so much because I want to change things but so as to enhance what I already do, then if things change completely, albeit incrementally- that’s great. I read a magazine article recently in which was about the work of street artist Connor Harrison (incredible – if you do not know his work – trust me you are missing out) and he said something like a change is not really a change if it doesn’t scare you. I’m not sure I agree with this. Change doesn’t have to be big and/ or brutal. I shall also point out that wasn’t a word for word quote, however the principle of thought still stands.

Im very close to finishing a large (for me) drawing, literally the next few days (pictured). I am pushing on with three large drawings at the the moment – each quite different but each as stimulating to create as the next. This works well for me as it keeps me interested in what I’m doing and it really doesn’t matter how long it takes to finish a piece. I’m actually quite lucky in that sense.

I will be embarking on a series of small drawings using coloured backgrounds in between finishing the larger ones. This will continue to keep things fresh and you never may also inform the larger pieces in their later stages. 

Thanks as always for reading my written self indulgence.