Recently I've become more interested in drawing than in painting, and this is what I want to concentrate on for now - to the point that I left my paint and brushes in storage in Stockholm! A few months ago I worked on some smudged and layered charcoal drawings, really enjoyed this, and felt that this was something I'd like to take further. As I'm currently between England and Sweden as well, it seems logical to make work that can be moved around more easily than large canvasses. Further to this, rather than concentrating on images of faces, I'm experimenting with drawing body parts, just to bring something new into my work.
Weathering is still of interest to me, and using paper rather than canvas allows me to explore this theme in a new way. I've been weathering the drawings using various combinations of screwing up the paper, and getting it wet, building up layers of charcoal. I particular like screwing up the paper before drawing, as the textured surface guides the drawing in some ways. I really enjoy working with charcoal and getting quite messy - I see the smudges and shadows in these drawings as a positive, something to build up texture and layering within the drawing. Fixing the images at different stages also contributes to the effect.
I'm planning to experiment with different types of paper, and keen to also try scratching or scrubbing the image once I have some stronger paper or thin card. I'd also like to experiment with drawing and sewing whilst the paper is still a bit damp - this isn't really possible with the brown paper I'm currently using because it's very thin and fragile, especially when wet.
Embroidery is still important in the work, and I've been using embroidery as a means of repair, not using it to embellish the imagery in these pieces. To contrast with the smudged, dark charcoal, I'm intentionally using embroidery thread in bright, vibrant colours. I'm full of enthusiasm about this new body of work - it's a departure from my previous work, and feels like it's something a bit new for me.
Although these pieces can stand up for themselves, they're also preparation for a new work I have in mind, which is very different to anything I've produced before, and which I also feel very excited about. I'm still thinking it through now, but I feel like it could be something quite special.
I've received a really positive response to these pieces so far, and I'm really in the right frame of mind to keep working on these ideas. I think I needed something new to really grab me and make me throw myself back into my work, and this idea is really working for me now. I think this body of work has relevance to work I've produced previously, but is still bringing in a new angle.