Tag Archives: drawing

After 359 days it’s hard to find stuff to say

#Letter365 No359 gets posted
No359 goes in the box

What do I say? I have been working at all the things I have to do to make the installation a success and to present other relevant work to put it all in context (and grab the opportunity to present pieces to a wider audience with the hope that people might buy it!) I have selected some pieces to mount for display in browsers and started to put them together. I am aiming to have about 20 pieces, but I won’t stress if I can’t get it all together for the opening night, I can always add some as the show progresses – after all it is continually unfolding! I have also picked up the pieces I am submitting to Drawn the drawing open at RWA.

So I have created a piece of work and, annoyingly, I didn’t have the time to play around with some ideas that arose from it. Now I feel I have to write something but I don’t have the time or energy. I will perhaps use ideas from today as a start for tomorrow but enough words for now.

What it’s all about

Mystery Evolves (detail) - ink drawing by David Smith
Mystery Evolves (detail)
Ink on Somerset paper 559mm × 762mm

In my earlier post today I mentioned my abiding interest the interplay between order and chaos and how a stream of my work is made up of many repetitive actions interrupted and disturbed by random chaotic influences. This piece, Mystery Evolves, which I completed a few days ago, is an example of just such a “field” drawing.  And while this piece will not be exhibited in my #Letter365 show at Bridport Arts Centre it is relevant to both the project and the installation. The year-long project has been a repetitive action – the daily creation of an artwork and its dispatch to the Arts Centre – which has been affected by unruly elements sometimes beyond my control. The installation will be an ordered arrangement of the envelopes interrupted by the opening and display of the contents – and who knows what else.

I will be exhibiting some of field drawings and tidelines pieces with the #Letter365 pieces to help place it into a broader context of my current work.

Mystery Evolves (detail) - ink drawing by David Smith
Mystery Evolves (detail)
Ink on Somerset paper 559mm × 762mm
Mystery Evolves (detail) - ink drawing by David Smith
Mystery Evolves (detail)
Ink on Somerset paper 559mm × 762mm
Mystery Evolves - ink drawing by David Smith
Mystery Evolves
Ink on Somerset paper 559mm × 762mm

Not a lot to say

#Letter365 No186 gets posted
No186 gets posted

I am still struggling to come to terms with our cat being seriously ill, but I managed to get on at the studio for a while today and started a big drawing as well as preparing some substrates. I was a bit concerned that my #Letter365 piece was more device than content and didn’t commit to it fully straightaway and left it hanging around for a while before I was able to see it with objective eyes. Now looking at the photos Ii am happy all is well.

So busy I found it hard to remember

#Letter365 No154 gets posted in bright sunshine
No154 gets posted in the pueblos blancos of St Andrew’s Road

When I saw the photo above I did think of the pueblos blancos of Spain, that harsh light on whitewashed walls, but really there are no Spanish houses in St Andrew’s Road. Bridport and the sun, though warm, was not as harsh as southern Spain. It is just one of those post boxes set into the side of a whitewashed Dorset house.

I have been busy again today with planning and preparations for the show in Ramsgate, plus the added excitement of selling an ink drawing to someone in the United States this evening. So when I came to write this post I found it hard to remember what I had done for #Letter365 only 9 or 10 hours ago! Part of the reason might also be the process of creation. I went to the studio wanting to do some work on a piece in progress as well as my #Letter365. When I got there, in quite a fired-up state, I found that I had left two sketchbooks open as reminders of things I wanted to develop. One of these was the long drawing I had been planning to do in a Moleskine concertina book. Making the first mark on a pretty expensive piece of paper or book is at times a pretty scary act and I had been sort of putting it off. Today I was up for it. I was full to overflowing with what I wanted to make: it was time. But there was just a little time for one last act of procrastination, my excuse being that I had to do #Letter365. And there laying on the table was the other open sketchbook with an idea that I wanted to develop – and remember that I was all fired up – so what could be easier than using that. I set to work and soon had created something I was pretty pleased with! Now I could get on with the drawing in the Moleskine. That went really well, actually even better than I had hoped. Once dry and I could interact with it I fell in love with it. So did someone else: it was the piece I sold to the woman in America.

Align One Ink drawing by David Smith on Moleskine concertina book
Align One
Ink drawing on Moleskine concertina book

So then I went back to the piece I had so boldly and confidently produced for #Letter365. I realised it was missing something; it didn’t quite work. I played around with different things for quite a while before realising that what was missing was me. I had skilfully found a way to get #Letter365 out of the way so I could get on with a piece that was really important to me, a piece I was full of. I wasn’t full of the piece I had made for #Letter365 and it wasn’t full of me. It was OK and had some interesting aspects but frankly it just wasn’t good enough! It didn’t pass the “would I have it on my wall and love it” test. Bit of a lesson there then! That meant I had to start again. Well I made a new piece, but I distilled some of the good aspects of the previous idea and sat with it until I could resolve it with honesty and integrity. In the light of what went before I am a little diffident about making any qualitative statement about just how good this latter piece is but I would be happy to have it on my wall and it pleases my eye.

Back of #Letter365 No154
Back of No154


Took it slower today

#Letter No44 goes in the post box as light is fading
No44 goes in the post box as light is fading

There was never any way that I was going to complete my piece today before the post. We had some shopping to do this morning and the post is around noon. Getting some nice local, organic asparagus from Bothen Hill Produce was more important than catching the post. That gave me leeway to do my piece when I chose and i decided to do a drawing first. As it turned out some friends popped round in the early evening so there was a little pressure to do #Letter365 before dinner, which is why I am so late posting it here.

Yes I did put a stamp on it today!

#Letter365 No39 gets posted in strong sunlight
Strong Spring sunshine for No39 as it goes in the box

There is the proof: I did put a stamp on today’s piece. Not much to say about it really. I have been working on some large drawings today and this piece came together really quickly and satisfyingly – perhaps as a relief from the intensity of a big, meditative drawing. I knew what I wanted, what I was drawn to doing, and the components came together but in a more subtle and considered composition than I had in my head.