As promised in my last post, here are a few of the sketches that I completed whilst visiting museums in Cyprus during the second year of my degree (nearly 10 years ago - where did the time go?!?):
As previously stated this is when I consider that I really developed my own system of mark-making to record visual information in a confident, engaged and committed way. From the (admittedly rather skimpy) notes I made around the sketches, these small figures were found at various archaeological sites around Cyprus.
From what I can recall the figures with the uplifted arms are Goddesses created to celebrate fertility and productivity. From the notes that I can decipher, many of them had been dated from around 400-700 B.C. The robustness of these figures to survive as artefacts for that length of times was part of the reason that they appealed to me.
Something about the depth of character displayed within these simply, often primitively, crafted figures also caught my imagination. The cabinet display lighting which basked the exhibits also added a heightened sense of drama, exaggerating areas of light and shade, and forming shadows across the often course, and sometimes textured, surface of the figures. The lighting also seemed to add further drama to the basic, striking, and strong shape of the figures; allowing the figures to cast defined, and yet distorted, shadows.
It is true that painting and drawing is all about practice - the more you do the more confident your mark-making and accurate your observations. One interesting comment that was made to me at the time that I did these sketches was that, from the codification I employed, I had clearly been influenced by the Cubists.
Cubism was a big influence on my the work that I completed for my A Levels. It was interesting that, a good few years later, there was a perception that the influence of Cubism was still evident within my own personal codification. I think that the way that I break down three dimensional shapes into clearly defined blocks in these sketches clearly shows this influence. It was interesting that I never did this consciously, it was just the style of sketching that I had developed that would capture the visual information that I required most effectively.
Sadly I have very much let my sketching skills slip over the past few years, but this is something that I am now keen to rectify. I want to try and get back the confidence in my own sketching that I once had. It is an important part of the painting process, allowing an artistic visual codification to evolve that is individual, personal and unique.