the pointy end

After many years of drawing, one’s marks get very clever, swish, known, predictable. I want them to be raw, vital, primal, with the character of something coming into the world for the first time, as if they were innocent, exploratory, finding themselves. I want them to brim with vital life force.

So many contradictions in this aim. They are, of course, coming into the world for the first time. They are not reproductions. Also, surely, if you are striving for innocence, it can be nothing but contrived?
Well yes, but you can work in some new way, exceptionally slowly, or fast, or use an implement that, by its very nature, cannot produce a known result. That’s why I make silly brushes out of reeds and dogs’ hair, and feathers that are too oily to hold ink. Also why I love accidental mark, blind mark, and mark made with the whole body, the marks of a nervous system.

I began the 30 Days of drawing with no particular aim, but hoped that this concerted period of time drawing would help me define a direction of interest for my art, so it would be more focused and less diverse. I hoped I would find something (a theme or method) that I could focus on. A direction. That hasn’t worked. I want to do a different thing every day, every moment, even! But there are a lot more figurative works and less non representational abstracts in the mix than I expected. (More figurative not in this photo)

I have discovered that I hate drawing from a subject unless I find it interesting. It needs to be fun, loved, unusual or macabre.

Drawing is a good way to pass time and it calms anxiety. It is like a mindful retreat.

You learn a lot about a subject by drawing it. There is a sort of intimacy in the act. Also I respect the subject more afterwards. Drawing is like an act of worship.


We are at the pointy end of this process. I need to have my work ready to submit at the end of the week, named and catalogued, artist statement etc. I seriously dislike business.

9 thoughts on “the pointy end

  1. A “comparative arts” question for you, Belinda. Can you campare writing poetry with drawing? You say, “Drawing is a good way to pass time and it calms anxiety. It is like a mindful retreat.” How, relative to that, would you characterize writing poetry? And, as long as we’re on the subject of drawing a subject, one more — does it feel like some poetry is about subject and some is abstract? (I’m just playing with these ideas for fun.)

    1. You ask such interesting questions, Marc.
      Poetry is not like drawing something from life, but drawing from life for so many years has given me great observational skills that are useful in poetry.
      Doodle drawing or letting the hand play and come up with things is somewhat like writing first drafts because they come out of the air, or the subconscious or somewhere unknown. Even sitting down to write about a subject is like this for me, because if the writing doesn’t run away with itself, the end results are lifeless.
      When my poems seem to not be obviously about a subject, I term them surreal. Mostly they seem emotional but it’s like the subject is just out of reach. I haven’t had many of them published but plan to try soon.
      But over all the two forms seem to come from quite different head spaces for me.

  2. I’m in the process of taking pictures of a variety of textures to use in photography, and after writing the previous comment I decided to draw a variety of textures (I don’t draw) and to write some poetry fragments about a variety of “textures”. Much fun…..

  3. Texture poetry
    1. Black juts toward the left with an underlay of burnt and forgotten oranges
    2. The soft but bulbous things: botox smiles, well meanings and bunion trees
    3. After shave — the current glistens.

  4. The figure to the far right at the bottom, they (not) reclining woman – wow!! At art school we often did exercises in ‘blind’ drawing, ie, not looking at the surface one is working on and it produced great results. Also a long stick with a pencil or brush attached to it, so one is about a meter away from the easel, also wonderful. I haven’t done any drawing for simply ages and these are inspiring! The figure, top left, just below the detailed drawing in pencil, I think I’d call that a painting because of the areas so filled in.

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