Medium:Brush and ink on paper
Studies of a violin - Brush drawing made in 1960
I was facinated by sketchbooks from an early age and studied those kept by
Turner, Delocrois, Constable, Stanley Spencer, Picasso and countless others.
It worried me that valuable studies could be locked away within the book and
I realised the importance of working only on one side of the paper just in case
one was to be mounted and framed for an exhibition.
In the war years, paper was in short supply and artists found themselves drawing
upon any surface that presented itself. I would sometimes draw on white table
clothes, napkins and surviettes to pay for meals. To this day some wine shops
and resurants are hung with my work as a sign of a well nourished stomache!
In 1960 I worked at The Durdans, a stately home owned by Lord Rosebury
(you can see my study of the stables designed by Sir Christopher Wren in
'Fine Art Archive' also in 'Gallery'. When Lord Rosebury's personal effects appeared
in the antique market, I purchased his pipe (the artist Jimmy Lowe once put it out
by dowsing my entire head with a bucket of water as I lay smoking on the floor!).
I also aquire a violet velvet note book with gold edgeing, that had never been
I set about making the above studies partly as an exercise in observation,
and partly to increase my ability to use a sable brush instead of a pencil, to make
a drawing. The challenge to achieve accuracy was made all the more intense by
virtue of the fact that you could not errase the line which had to be right first time.
During a fully attended 'crit' (as we used to call them) the book was presented to
Lional Bulmer (who had drawings in the Edward Le-Barr Collection).
The violet cover, gold edging, fine brush drawing was altogether too much for him,
and the whole volume was unceremoniousely dropped out of the first floor window.
At that point, if I felt the pull of maternal apron strings, ideas about my own importance,
or a precious fixation about my work, then these elements were certainly fractured.
Together with the event of my Father's death as he lay in my arms at the age of
seventeen, it most certainly was not the age of the dillatante. Both mild and would-be
professional sudents felt the sting of remarks made by tutors and fellow students alike.
Time was to be the ultimate test that would separate those who had something to
say and who were driven, from the chasers of both fashion and popularity.
A few of us experimented with a wide range of materials, breaking with the comfort
zones of the tradditionally acceptable. The radical American abstract school was a
colourfull beacon and a release for some, who's British rootes faded, exchanged for
huge canvases often too big for a domestic interior. Little did we know at the time that
the CIA was funding the promotion of Ameriacan abstract art as a counter-measure
against Communism. Towards the end of the 20th century the folly of Post Modernis was
that it shattered historical rootes in exchange for a 'free radical' that abuses the human
need to feel a part of history and to build on the wisdom and skills of others to make a
solid foundation for their lifes work! Tutors who handed out tough treament to students,
showing little regard for their personal needs, would often display something far from
radical in their own work which was produced in a thereputic time-bubble!
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