(Artwork by EMMA STIBBON, Berg Mirror 2011, Sugarlift etching and aquatint)
I was so incredibly glad that it was suggested to me by the gracious Meryl Ainslie of Rabley Drawing Centre that I might visit their exhibit at the The London Original Print Fair 2011. I arranged a series of business meetings in London this afternoon and popped along to the Royal Academy of Arts for a routine mind expansion.
As it turns out, this was a timely suggestion which in part completed an evolving embryonic epiphany. Standing in front of the vast Emma Stibbon print (above) my thoughts crystallised, my epiphany was delivered, and it took everything I had not to exclaim eureka in ebullience!
Disclaimer: I am an utter art dunce and the sum total of my artistic merit to date has been a series of child-line-drawing self portraits at the bottom of postcards to friends and family. A developmentally challenged Jawa with no arms trying to draw on a piece of mouldy toast with a discarded and faulty light sabre could do infinitely better. If you’ve ever received a postcard from me and wondered what the abstract of a bruised tomato near my sign off was, it’s me. Ouch.
My lack of artistic ability to date has been a sore point for me. I’ve always wanted to be creative. I’ve tried with a camera, because it’s a tool I can manipulate with formulae! I just have to see things that are already pleasing to the eye and capture them on an analog or digital media. I couldn’t manipulate or create an artistic scene.
This in mind, I have been considering drawing as a double edged sword of enlightenment. I have read many times from multiple sources that drawing or painting will improve your photography through understanding [insert whatever it is artists understand]. I have also wondered if drawing would allow me to embellish an eye pleasing scene with exaggeration and artistic license. I’d dearly love to recreate this photo in a large scale, painted maybe? I see it with a deeper DOF, a rustic table, emphasising the books, hiding little gems and treats within the titles… I’d like to enhance the colour and try and tell a story with the vendors more.
Could I improve my photography and then have a talent to create what I couldn’t capture?!
No. I’ve spent my life scratching out childroglyphics in awe of anyone who could paint/draw/design/CAD/draft etc.
But! And please prepare for a powerful underwhelming, here it is… As far as I can tell it’s all about the light and (I’m really propelling the punt from the pontoon here) something I don’t understand that I think might be called negative space. If it isn’t, I apologise. Allow me to try and explain.
I enjoy sitting in a comfy chair in Waterstones (other bookshops are available, just not where I live) on a Sunday, quasi-reading 10 books I’ll never buy. It’s one of my favourite things ever. Last Sunday I was in the gamete stage of my ephiphany-baby and I was flicking through How to Draw Anything, How to Draw and Pull Chicks, How to Draw Like Stan Lee and Get Loaded, 1,001 Exercises in Making Shapes, when I chanced upon the last copy of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain in the store. I was enrapt. I loved the Left-Brain vs. Right-Brain 101 lectures I followed a pretty girl into at Uni! This was my kind of pyscho-babble!
I gathered that what I was doing wrong was allowing my bossy left-brain to make me draw childroglyphics when my lovely right-brain was dying to shade and make what it saw appear on paper. Exercise #1 of the book, sit infront of a mirror and draw what you see. SEE. Not what old left-brain thinks it should represent a nose with! I sat down and lost myself. An hour later, fuck me and call me Pablo but I regarded something that looked a bit like me, and all without a Jawa paw print in sight.
I made a subconscious observation, which in hindsight was - there was a lot of dark and a little bit of light. Whites of the eyes, sun on the tip of my nose, a cheek bone, almost white. Everything else varying shades of black.
Standing in front of Emma Stibbon’s beautiful ice and sea scape it twigged.
Two little epiphany gametes got together, made an epiphany zygote (there was a pretty girl in biology too) and started dividing and multiplying like they were exponential and WHAMMO. Eureka. Ebullience. Etcetera.
There is a LOT of dark tones on Stibbon’s print, all that is not is ice and highlights. I get it.
Doesn’t mean I can draw though.
(This post was brought to you by the letter E.)