Monday 25 August 2008

Drawn from the Collection

For the double anniversary of wedding and the first year in our new home, Ian and I treated ourselves to a nice meal at the Rex Whistler restaurant at Tate Britain ( subsidised by a timely £50 Premium Bond win ). We dined elegantly , surrounded by the mural 'In pursuit of Rare Meats and then feeling suitably mellow after sampling the award winning wine list, ventured out into the galleries in search of Turner watercolours. I was keen to see his work again after my recent painting course (there's currently an interesting interactive display of his methods). However, on the way we were distracted, first of all by this wonderful Henry Moore sculpture, carved out of Green Hornton Stone, so different to the monumental bronzes we saw at Kew and apt since we've recently been in limestone country.
(Henry Moore: Recumbent Figure 1938)

(Edward Wadsworth: Dux et Comes )
I lost Ian at one point as he was absorbed looking at the paintings in the same room , particularly these 2 (above and below). Wadsworth was new to me but Nash is an old friend (his 'Winter Sea' is one of my all-time favourites).

(Paul Nash: Voyages of the Moon )

Also on the way to the Turners was an exhibition of drawings from the Tate collections. I've always tended to leap straight to paint after only cursary attention to drawing ,(probably because I love colour so much). However since my recent course I've been drawn back to line after experimenting with acrylic inks used very freely. The display of drawings was very diverse from finely detailed traditional pencil sketches to contemporary animation and monoprints.
One of the first drawings in the landscape section that caught my eye was this preparatory sketch by James Ward for his large painting of Gordale Scar. There's always a shivery sense of connection when you realise you've been trying to capture the grandeur that other artists in past have struggled with (Turner also painted here)

(James Ward :Sketch for Gordale Scar)

(Wihelmina Barns-Graham : Eight lines Porthmeir)

I like the subtle simplicity of the piece above - something to aspire to. The lines are softly blurred in places (the medium is chalk).

This charcoal ( and chalk) vigorous drawing of Peterbough Cathedral (below) was placed next to a very intricate drawing by Turner of Ely Cathedral. What I love about this is that it speaks of space and hints at delicate stonework and tracery yet is achieved with bold line and subtle rubbing out. It lets the viewer fill in the rest.

( Dennis Creffield : Peterborough Approaching the West Front )

Chalk and rubbing out of marks were also used by Tacita Dean on her huge blackboard drawings. The use of multiple images give a wonderful sense of motion and although mainly drawn in outline, there's a hint of volume given by a small amount of chalk left after erasure. Quite wonderful.

(Tacita Dean : Roaring Forties )

I came away buzzing. Besides some notes in my sketchbook to jog my mind I was excited to find on the Tate's website that all their collections have been digitised and you can search its database in many ways (including every page of Turners sketchbooks) - I could browse for hours. I've also just signed up for their online course which looks at a variety of artists' methods with excercises to try these techniques for yourself. A great follow up to the Studio Journal Course and a bargain at £20.


MixPix said...

Thanks so much for this post with all the links. I was lucky enough to visit the Tate Liverpool Klimt exhibition earlier in the year, and was able to post links to their wonderful website. The online course looks very good and I may sign up for that too.

Linda B. said...

Happy Anniversary!

Lots og reat things in this post - I hadn't realised that the didgitisation of the Tate collection was complete, or that they do on-line courses, thanks for the link.

It was good to see a piece of work by Wihelmina Barns-Graham. Bobby Britnell had a book of her work at the CQ Summer School and I was entranced by her line work. I had forgotten and must now follow up!!!

Unknown said...

thanks for sharing - what a great way to spend your anniversaries, I really enjoyed looking at these images. The course sounds very tempting, have squirreled the information away for later.

neki desu said...

i agree,no better way of commemorating anniversaries.
thanks for the links and the lead to the course.

neki desu