Indelible

For the time being plans for large scale work remain on hold, to be ruminated on, digested, moved around under my tongue perhaps until it feels right. Instead I begin other work, an immersion into quick reading and slower, painstaking research. And more painful still is the continuation of the Urpflanze (Pomegranate)drawing series. The current drawing is in biro on paper. The biro is a fairly cheap, common-place writing and drawing implement, similar in ubiquity and democracy as the HB pencils I used for the first drawings in the series. But biro is of course indelible, unlike the pencil. In the first drawings I erased very little anyway, the tight conceptual method and actual drawing technique I am using means that any ‘mistake’  is to be left and carefully manipulated into the illusion of an accurate copy of the plant. However if I found myself drifting away from the rigorous method of drawing I had set up, into a more enjoyable, loose, imaginative drawing I would attempt to catch myself and rub this area out. The drawings were challenging because of the detail of the subject and because of the method but also because of this hyper-self-awareness.

Now drawing with the biro, I am additionally finding the medium challenging. It smudges, it blots. there is no control over which side of the roller ball the drawn line emerges from. Lines are no longer parallel, no longer controlled. No longer delicate, nuanced or precise. And because I can not erase the areas in which my concentration wandered and imagination explicitly (rather than unconsciously) comes into play, these areas must stand. Far more of this drawing is imagined. To counter this I am starting to use tip-ex as a way of placing areas ‘sous rature’ or under erasure (to borrow Heidegger’s term); the thin tip-ex covers incompletely, allowing the black biro line to partially show though, yet allowing a redrawing.

Because I do not have the control over the biro I am struggling to stick to my method of drawing semi-blind, of following negative spaces in the incredible tangle of roots. If I draw without looking at the drawing I find that the biro ink suddenly trails off, a slight change in angle leaving me with great gaps in a line. So I am concentrating on the line more than the subject, meaning a greater gap between looking and drawing and a greater imaginative projection. It is excruciating physically and mentally. Its ugliness on all levels thrills me.

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