Drawing has always been the backbone of my work. It is the skeleton or scaffolding on which I build my observations and ideas. Mark making is an essential part of the process. Observation and detailed study provide a unique way of seeing and the discipline of recording and organising the subject matter. Drawing is the platform on which we can absorb and understand the natural or “real” world in order to then reorganise and recompose it into an individual and personal interpretation.
Using charcoal I can achieve a profound intensity and depth. Charcoal also enables me to draw with a huge range of textural and tonal variation. Some of my drawings are layered, deep and dark with only a glimmer of light to relieve the composition but some are more lively and less intense depending on the mood, the light or the subject. Some drawings depict night-time scenes when darkness dominates but at dawn and dusk the equilibrium between light and shade changes. In the forest the movement of the trees provides a never ending video clip of dancing shapes of light and shadows. Reflections in ponds and puddles are constantly fragmenting and reforming; sometimes the images are diffused and sometimes scattered like shrapnel.
I obtain most of my charcoal from a farm in central Brittany where it is made as a by product of fruit growing and where willow hedges are planted as wind breaks between individual orchards. The French word for artists’ charcoal is “fusain” or spindle tree in English, so presumably it was made from this wood in France. Today most drawing charcoal is made from willow. To find out more about the production and supply of artists’ charcoal you can go to www.coatescharcoal.co.uk and firstname.lastname@example.org