Those of you who know me will realize I’m going through very strange times indeed. The bare facts are simple and ordinary, we are moving house and living in temporary accommodation until our next house is available. So much for bare facts, the psychological turmoil of such a rootless existence is extensive and painful, you are literally cut adrift and all those familiar and comforting things you gather around you as a bulwark to unfamiliarity disappear overnight. In these strange new waters any mooring becomes a harbour, you crave certainty and grasp onto the predictable so much so that habits become reinforced and riveted into comforting cast-iron certainty. You become this strange caricature of your former self stripped of subtlety with all nuances removed, nuances are dangerous they risk misunderstanding and the dreaded insecurity. Confidence is sapped and the husk of the former you stare’s on wanly at the lucky souls with homes to go to. Life on the street for those so inflicted, must feel like a living death, I can think of nothing so horrible and soul destroying than this twilight existence.
What has this got to do with life drawing, I would say everything because at the root of this malaise lies confidence, confidence in the future and confidence and sureness in one’s own skills. Without confidence one will always succumb to the worst case scenario, despair will always worm its wicked way into those tiny crevices we all have despite our brave façade.
‘Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings’ Samuel Johnson
I like to think the next drawing/painting will be the best one I have ever done, it’s a persuasive thought, a happy world to inhabit and why not, it could be. That piece of work might change the course of art, it could explode all previous pre-conceptions of life drawing, and it could be the foundation, the precursor to a whole new way of looking. Future pilgrims will look back to that humble life room as the place in which the new epoch in art began and you can say to bored grandchildren, ‘I was there when Angular Smudgism was born’. As they yawn for the umpteenth time you can once more recount in a voice fragile with emotion how you saw with your very own eyes, the marvellous moment when Priscilla Graf von Splasch miraculously combined Oil of Ulay with graphite dust and applied it with a ruler, ‘a ruler I tell you, incredible…’ In a darkened room all alone with a hoarse whisper you murmur those final well-rehearsed words,’it was the ruler that done it you see, without the ruler it would have been regular old Smudgism albeit the Ulay was unusual but the ruler made all the difference, don’t you see, what a moment and we were there, we were there……who would have thought it……..’
Self-inflicted despair prior to drawing is just a defence mechanism, the juju spell to protect you from failure, but I say it’s also a self-fulfilling prophecy, there’s plenty of time afterwards in the post-mortem to declare the corpse bereft of life. Whilst it’s but a baby freshly born don’t damn it with your pessimism even if your countless previous offspring have ended up as bad’uns, give the kid a chance. And so it is that I draw with optimism and hope and until I know otherwise, this will be the best drawing ever, why not, even Albert Einstein was a scruffy little oik once.
Take your pick from the wise words of Alexander Pope . (Yes there is a miscellany of aphorisms in the cottage we’re staying in!)
‘Some people will never learn anything for this reason, because they understand everything too soon,’
‘A little learning is a dangerous thing’
‘Fools rush in where angels fear to tread’
‘Hope springs eternal in the human breast’.
Paintings and drawings by Bren, Chris F, David, Hadyn, Ivan, Jerry, Russell, Sandra, Tom, Tony and featured artist Chris M