Apologies that there was no blog yesterday: I had to lecture at Plymouth University.
Today I am overjoyed as I have just taken possession of an A0 drawing board from an architect. My back is saved! I was working leaning over a table, or on a desk mounted drawing board that I had to hold with one hand whilst drawing with the other. Now I finally have a proper drawing board that doesn’t move every time I lean on it. Christmas arrived early! Yipee!
On to today. Today I have been staring for hours at icebergs, trying to find the right shapes and right light source to copy from, but it was an impossible task. I had decided that the map simply needed some icebergs as it wouldn’t be Antarctica without an iceberg.
Their colours are enchanting and their shapes imposing and quite magnificent.
I wanted to have the icebergs rising up from the bottom of the map. The reasons for this were manifold . Firstly, as I said I want icebergs on the map to signify Antarctica, but secondly, the movement of the penguins would be lost with crashing dark waves behind them, moreover on the left hand side I have the Terra Nova and she was stuck in ice for twenty days and the image I copied for her was a photograph Ponting took when she was stuck.
I wanted to be true to the story of the expedition, true to the wind in her sails and again, if I put dark crashing sea behind her, I would lose all the detailing on the ropes and masts. My thought was to have icebergs behind the Terra nova and behind the penguins and have the ice meet in the middle, forming an arc of ice.
I began by drawing an iceberg- see below it is all in pencil at this stage.
Then I removed it because I felt it jutted out too much and broke the round arc of the sea and the bigger circle around it. it was detracting. So my hunt began for the right icebergs. After two or three hours, I had the right shape, wrong shading; right shading but too detailed; right detailing and wrong shape. The shape I required for the penguins needed to echo the triangular shape of the Terra Nova on the left. So I decided to invent my own by mixing them up but still something wasn’t right. I couldn’t figure out quite what it was, but it was enough to stop me inking them in.
However, after taking delivery of my new lovely board and having the chance to think away from the picture, it occurred to me what my problem was. The distance between the iceberg on the right and Antarctica was much smaller than the distance on the right and that was why it didn’t feel right. Once more I was trying to see the overall pattern and bigger picture. Every little scene needs to look feasible in its own right but it simply must work as a whole picture.
Consequently, I will be re working my icebergs a little to even the spaces out before I ink them in tomorrow.
A great deal of art work is not as many people probably think, i.e. just sitting down and drawing, it is research and lots of working out of puzzles that present themselves along the way and then experimentation before committing and drawing. So I can only say that I have been working hard, but there is little to show for it today, sometimes, that’s just the way it goes. Tomorrow is a full day and I hope make some headway with the bergs and the ice. Plus after watching tonight’s frozen planet, I am completely convinced that ice and icebergs are required. I wish I had seen the bit about the Larsen Ice shelf before I had completed it because it would have been very useful. It is quite difficult to accurately capture somewhere you have never visited. Hmmm… I wonder if the expedition need an artist? I could draw the wildlife and icebergs for real. Now there’s a thought…