Finding Inspiration in Every Line
Balancing on a Fine Line: Ink on Paper
Whilst living in Taiwan, I studied calligraphy and discovered that this beautiful form is valued as ‘high art’. The art of calligraphy is used to express the inner beauty of the soul and spirit. Chinese calligraphy focusses on two types of beauty: the obvious aesthetics and the hidden beauty, the soul and life of a figure. Often, Chinese painters will say they are “writing a painting” and this concept has influenced my work heavily over the years. I want my works to tell their own story, for the viewer to read their energy.
Each of my drawings is almost a manifestation of the frame of mind I am in at the time that I create it. As Henry Ward Beecher said, “Every artist dips his brush in his own soul and paints his own nature into his pictures”.
Somewhere along my path I became engrossed in the need to convey movement, to create the illusion of life. Knowing how to create something in the line, how to find the light and the life in a figure is considerably harder than the layering, rendering and re-rendering I do when I’m painting with oils.
I have to learn and understand the lines before I can make them work. It has taken years of practice, of feeling like I’m walking through a maze; making mistakes, going down the wrong road and learning whether to turn left or right. I’ve had to practice and practice to be able to create a piece in one go, it’s almost like doing it in one breath.
Each time I pick up my tools, I am running out onto a tightrope – I can’t stop. I have to keep going to get to the other side. There is no time to question myself or correct mistakes because I have to get the marks down with confidence. I don’t get a second chance and I can’t rework it, every mark has to flow out of me to give the figure movement. If I haven’t studied the lines, if I don’t fully understand them the drawing just won’t work.
Every single line on each of my drawings is inspired by a living object, the result being that every line has the energy of a living thing.