I appear to be becalmed in the doldrums. I haven’t had a holiday for over ten years, which might have something to do with it. It’s partly my own fault, apart from lack of cash. I refuse to go on holiday if I have to sit alone in a hotel room for three hours an evening waiting for someone else to fill up at the bar and I lost the desire to sit in any sort of bar at all about thirty years ago. My grandmother was right; when drink is in sense is out, and, having been brought up in a pub on the river Tyne, she knew.
Perhaps it’s something to do with it being nearly six months since my mother died. Perhaps it’s because the solicitor who was dealing with her stuff left suddenly and the deputy, who was helping, is a bit lost. Maybe I’ve played enough and need to repurpose. Maybe I’m just tired of wading through boxes of stuff I can’t do anything with until we get to probate.
When the doldrums strike I usually get arty. I’ve been sporadically attending drawing sessions run by a local art shop. They provide a model who will sit still for a couple of hours and I draw the result and then file it in a scrapbook album so I can see the progress. I began with life drawing which is a number of quick poses. I thought it might be helpful with doll modelling and I think it was, although the dolls still have to be dolls. There was a lot of talk some years ago about realism. An exhibition held in foreign abroad had featured a twelfth scale bawdy house with realistic unclad dolls with floppy bits, body hair, corns, knees and bingo wings, in short, the full horror of the human body. It was a constant topic of conversation at the following Miniatura. The consensus of opinion was that it was, well, you know, foreign and that it was all very well to see but nobody would want that in their own dolls’ house, would they? At the time I was veering in the direction of realism myself, but I listened to all the talk and veered right back again. My dolls quite definitely reproduce via moulds and will always lack the body parts to do anything else, the closest I get is a shape that looks right under clothing.
So I moved on to attending portraiture sessions where the models keep the same pose for two hours with a slight break to complain in and have really enjoyed the results.
My partner in crime is Kuretake, the Japanese company who produce wonderful brush pens. The portrait on the right is done with their Zig clean colour water based ink brush pens. Once I got confident I moved to the medium for the left portrait which is their alcohol brush pens. As you can see this is a very definite colour, once it’s on the paper, it’s there.
I have also now started trying to get more of the person on the paper, which is quite a challenge. If I started at the top I always had a leg dangling off the bottom of the paper and I certainly wouldn’t start at the feet; finishing at the nose is probably an F- at least.
It is still, without a doubt, very good for any artist to be arty in different mediums. It still looks like my output however I do it. Everything has a slight cartoon quality. Maybe it’s the way I see: not very well at a distance, very well two inches from my nose. Talking of which, I have an appointment to get my cataracts seen to. That’s what I’m spending my inheritance on. I could wait until they get much worse and I qualify under the constraints of the National Health and get them done for free but if I do that they’ll adjust my eyes to normal and I won’t be able to do the dolls. Not that I can at present. Everything is blurry, as I realised when I photographed the last lot to show you. Cameras are so good now that they can show you up with no problem at all. A few years ago I bought a miniature from a famous miniaturist that they had made recently. I could see well enough then to see that it wasn’t very good. When I talked to the artist later it became apparent that they didn’t know it wasn’t good because they couldn’t see it. What was worse was that they didn’t know they couldn’t see it.
I think there comes a time in the life of all artists when experience and physical ability wave to each other as they rush off in different directions. There is a strong possibility that I may be at that juncture right now. So now is the time to act. It will either make everything much better or it will fail horribly, in which case plan B is to do a lot more writing but in very big
typeface. So if you read a blog in the future that looks like this you’ll know it all went horribly wrong.
13 weeks to the Min.