Dear Bryan 17 04 12

Dear Bryan

Thank you so much for a lovely warm conversation in the Google Hangout this evening. It brought one massive thing home to me, it is not always wise to relate all one’s correspondence exclusively to a close confident but that sometimes you can branch out and have a more than useful dialogue with another correspondent.

The hangout started with a brief discussion about how the stakes were now higher with less brief at this level to direct the course of my studies, placing the onus firmly and squarely on me to become the owner of my own destiny.

Since about the 1960’s art has devolved from movements and schools into a greater individuality and freedom, and each must attain mastery of his own destiny. Whilst the great masters had individuality and freedom there is perhaps a particularly individual role enjoyed by British artists such as Constable, Bacon, Turner, Freud and Blackadder, not forgetting such contemporary talents as Emin, Hurst and Riley. British artists have a remarkable individuality even though it is possible to trace Hurst’s glass tanks back to Bacon’s “virtual rooms” and Emin’s use of the bed as an artistic motif  back through Rauschenberg’s Bed of 1955 through Van Eyck’s The Arnolfini Portrait and as far back as Giotto’s The death of Saint Francis. The use of the bed as art is not really as revolutionary as the Daily Mail or The Telegraph would have you believe.

I was pleased to learn that you advocate that seeing art in real life is a totally different experience from looking at art in tiny reproductions in books and on the internet that goes in total avoidance of the wow factor. I forgot to tell you my sight theory, everybody is looking at things in their phone or computer screen and almost all emails come with a warning not to print them off to save a tree, why the warning?, because we are going to need an awful lot of trees to carve the white sticks out of for the blind people who have spent a lifetime squinting at screens.

You echoed some of my own doubts about the format of the “Dear Cleo thing” in that I will need to manage it carefully to allow for the sophistication necessary for degree level writing that is not always compatible with the understanding of a six year old, and I take this on board fully and in any case, from tonight, I have realised that I have more than one correspondent and can express my loftier concerns to you. In my defence, as I said, I find it easier to write when I know my audience and the easier I write the better understood I will be when a stranger comes to read it on my blog, and as you well know there are a lot of Strange people on the internet. You can see above and below that I am already trying to become more specific and referential in my writing this has a dual effect, it slows me down a bit but I don’t have to refer to the Arnolfi thing and have the correct spelling and official title of the painting in my virtual brain, God help me when the electric goes off.

When I started the course with the title Investigating Drawing I thought I would be investigating other famous people’s drawings or at least comparing their drawings with my own, I never realised that I could compare my drawings with each other, but now you have pointed this out, this is surely the way forward to develop my own talent, to be discerning (used in perfect context) to find the way forward and sort out the dross from the good stuff so as to distil the excellence and progress. It’s funny how it seems (The Carpenters) that the greatest discoveries come from listening to other people.

I was supremely interested in the discussion we had on my sketch books and life drawings. I had always considered them to be kind of throwaway stuff I do to keep my hand in practice for when I do a proper drawing but recently I have come to think that the energy in them must migrate into my proper drawings. I had a chance to look over the ones you referenced and discovered something remarkable. Your favourites were done when I was relaxing with a glass of wine, I wonder if they would get better with absinth, they might but I wouldn’t. The wirey people are relatively static but the scribbly people are generally dancers and singers, perhaps I need to use a different technique to portray movement and that is something I can take forward and experiment a bit with. The life drawing with halo’s was something I was trying to do to introduce more mark making into my life drawing and I think that the negative space around the halo can count towards carrying a picture to the edge of the frame and thus paying attention to the background.

The discussion on the projects and assignment was lively and I learned the most from the talk of the background of the hand and can totally understand now where you are coming from, that it was a missed opportunity to introduce more tension and life into the drawing. Knowing about Alvarez Closet Series of drawings will enable me to investigate pixilation further and have another go at that and I can already see a link to the parallel project in Twombly.

The discussion of my ideas for my proposed parallel project and critical review was well received, in the coming weeks I will make a start at formulising it after I have done a little more reading around the subject.

This was my sixteenth assignment review, and by far the best, almost like a coming of age. For the first time I realised how much effort the tutor puts into an assignment and the thought process behind it. Seeing it face to face has saved weeks of thinking and wondering before getting  so angry as to write an email saying “Excuse me but exactly what did you mean by these three words in the middle of the five pages of writing you sent.” I know it may be a money thing but I think this way of doing it would be very helpful to students at level four, I know it would have helped me back then.

The technology of the event was quite surprising but very enjoyable, I kept wanting to shout to the Kitchen “You will never guess who is on our telly, Mam!” and I now have a new technological toy to play and experiment with to create stuff.

All the best


PS Just in case you didn’t check them out up the page, here again are the pictures that go with the writing.