Drawing Roger is like walking in a landscape, it's very easy to get distracted and find yourself lost. A lifetime spent working the land has left Roger with the flesh and bones equivalent of valleys, mountains, gorges and rugged peaks, in other words he's the living embodiment of a Romantic Landscape almost gothic in it's intricacy. And like the Gothic artists of earlier times we can so easily enjoy the fiddly bits and lose sight of the whole, some of us did that and others kept their sights firmly on the bigger picture. Despite resolving beforehand to not fall into that trap, like a lapsed smoker riddled with guilt off I went knapsack on my back, blithely exploring the gullies and hummocks of Roger's face forgetting certain primary school principles like eyes should be aligned. How does this happen, this seduction into detail? You can hear the distant voice saying 'Step away from the easel. Place your pastel where we can see it and raise your hands above your head.......now nice and easy turn around and walk away.......easy I said, pastel down...' But like a punk hopped up on glory the words mean nothing and deeper and deeper we delve into detail, every nuance and shadow relentlessly recorded. On a mission now, clock ticking, those details have to be gathered, you trudge onwards, grim faced and determined, it's the North Face of the Eiger, come hell or high water you're going to conquer it, plant that flag and shout to the world, loud and proud......I.....did.....Roger!
Or is that just me.
When the detail is held within a convincing whole, the work soars. Kate (She's seventeen for heaven's sake, where's the justice I sigh) assembles her detail with unerring authority, from the set of the mouth to the tip of the nose, it's all there rendered meticulously, each tone adjusted and calibrated to perfection. Kate's delicate cross hatching technique might be transferred profitably to egg tempera painting where like Anthony Williams she can explore in ever more detail the microscopic miracles of the human face. It's a tremendous drawing, I really like the way you can feel how tight the mouth is clamped shut and the strength of the jaw.
Paul has ascended the South Face and has produced a drawing of sure footed authority with the most delicate, subtle suggestion of a profile that is unmistakably Roger. It really is a beautiful portrait from an un-promising view point. The glacial fractures of the back are traversed, then we have the twisted column of the neck rising ultimately to the smooth summit of the head, a rewarding journey of great beauty. The outline, often a problem is realised with such confidence that instead of flattening the form it adds stability and structure uniting the numerous divergent forms. In my pantheon of praise I would say it deserves the highest accolade and can rightly be described as a 'Right Belter' of a drawing.
Others that should be mentioned in dispatches include Andrew's powerful study, Hadyn's careful drawing and considered analysis of the effects of sun on the unprotected pate, Roger's flirtatious abstract drawing in which if I look hard I think I can see a figure, Sandra's fine painting in which figure, ground and colour pull together effectively and Steven whose trajectory is a reverese Baumgartner ever upwards.
See you next week for the Scott and Sharon Show and Fiona E we don't want none of this malarkey......and t'other Fiona don't worry when you look at her work it's not them glasses playing up but a little animation of the four drawings she did so cancel that appointment at Specsavers, on the other hand hang on I could probably use it..........au revoir.
Paintings and drawings by Andrew, David, Fiona E, Fiona H, Hadyn, Ian, Roger, Sandra, Steven, Sue, Teresa, Tom, Tony and featured artists Kate and Paul.