I’ve been drawing again a lot lately. When I need to make order out of chaos, I pick up my pad and pen and start to draw. Because drawing doesn’t need to make sense either but after a while it does. And the coherency that appears before you lends coherency to your thoughts.
I’ve opted for the usual biro with the addition of other media; I find I’m really liking oil bars at the moment, basically oil paint in chunky stick form. Whilst rooting through a box during a recent clear out, I was delighted to discover them having purchased them from a Chelsea art store in New York about eight years ago. I’ve broken them in now, especially the white. They’re great on a wood surface, they blend and dry out much quicker than on paper, they can be translucent or opaque. I love them.
Sketch 2. Untitled, pencil and oil bar on watercolour paper, 2018
The thing about drawing though is that it isn’t relaxing. Not at first, anyway. At first, it’s frustration and scratching out and starting again and huffing and puffing and taking a break and making a cup of tea and then coming back and squinting and changing your technique and application and starting again again.
Sketch 1. Untitled, biro and oil bar on watercolour paper, 2018
Then you get to a point when your approximate measurements are more or less accurate and you can cross hatch some definition, take a breather, look at it from different angles and distances, keep looking, that’s the key, keep adding, removing, honing, until the form slowly but surely appears like an image in a tray of developing fluid. And the frustration leaves because the vexing bit is done with, you’ve got your measurements right, now it’s time for resolving and perfecting and that’s when you reach a point of happiness. Because by then your drawing starts to look good and it’s all about making it look better still until it’s as good as it can get.
Sketch 3. Untitled, biro and food colouring on watercolour paper, 2017
That doesn’t mean it has to be complete. For me, the strongest work is incomplete, unresolved, still becoming. Some days, it may mean fragile delicate marks, a thing still in flux, not quite there, a blind urge visible. It depends on what’s going on, what the moment calls for, what your soul calls for, and whatever is the result of that. Drawing is the frustration of beginning and the happiness of arriving.
Sketch 4. Untitled, biro and pencil on watercolour paper, 2018
There are some days that ask you to draw. When you forget what you were supposed to be doing because the light is perfect and comes through the window in a cool morning and gives you clear vision and the paper and materials are there within reach, so why on earth wouldn’t you? Scrap what you were doing before. The conditions are perfect for you to draw. All you need then is time to soak up that good cool light and make marks.
Sketch 5. Untitled, biro and pencil on watercolour paper, 2018
(c) N Nazir 2018