Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Moon Drawings

I've recently been working with a new material (well, new to me) - resin. I originally bought it for use in a sculpture project but I got curious about how it would work as a drawing or painting material, when used in conjunction with charcoal and acrylic paint. To get a feel of the material I chose a simple theme, the moon, and started a few experimental drawings. The lunar theme came about after chatting to one of my collectors, James Dyer, about his 18 month-old daughter, Darcy, who is obsessed with the moon. Apparently the four important factors in her life are mum, dad, gran and moon - the latter presumably viewed as a person in its own right.

This first piece is called 'Darcy's Moon Ladder', and is a mixture of charcoal and resin on paper. For the lower section of the piece, containing the loose ladder structure, I adopted a more frantic and child-like approach to drawing, which I found quite primal and liberating.
Charcoal and resin are an interesting mix to work with - depending upon the order and how you apply them, it can sometimes work like a drawing, and at times the process can take on a more painterly aspect. The resin lends the charcoal a depth that you wouldn't necessarily get with a traditional charcoal sketch. That isn't immediately obvious in this images so I've included a photo at the bottom of the post that shows a cluster of drawings, where the sheen is more clearly evident. I'm a big fan of very dark (as in not much light) works (a great example being the early prints of someone like of Ana Maria Pacheco) where I, as a viewer, am forced to search out the details - so I am looking forward to pushing this process further, and producing even denser, darker pieces.
Another great thing about working with resin and charcoal on paper is that, until it sets, the resin is continually shifting so it's possible to scrape into it, creating new highlighted areas and textures. Although, because of this temporary state of entropy, you have to keep an eye on, and rework certain areas until the resin dries, as the line work you do is constantly wanting to melt away.

This second piece is the more experimental of the three I'm showing here. It even retains a fragment one of the disintegrated Nitril gloves that I was wearing when I created it - disintegrated because towards the end I'd abandoned drawing with charcoal or brush, and was frantically scraping the charcoaly resin mix with my gloved finger tips. Even before I picked up a charcoal stick or resin brush I screwed up and then unfurled the paper (stapling back together any tears) so as to give myself a nicely creased, non-flat surface to work on. I eventually plan to work on more screwed up pieces that will be rigid from much thicker coatings of resin.

Although simpler, and less worker, I am really happy with this third piece, which retains whole fragments of charcoal sticks that broke up under the heavy-handed drawing process. One of the discoveries that I made, and an effect that I greatly like, is the evidence of the small pieces of charcoal and powdered charcoal trapped in the resin, slowly travelling down the paper.

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