Intimate Geography - graphite and charcoal drawings

Publication date: 2 February 2023

In October 2022, with the intention of exploring new ideas for linoprints, I began producing some relatively large-scale (60x40cm) graphite pencil drawings.

As the process of drawing took hld and became ever more immersive, my initial plan began to change direction.

Around January 2023, my artist friend, Hannah Leadbetter, suggested I try charcoal pencil - a medium I hadn't worked with before. Within a few drawings, the charcoal, in its various forms - sticks, dust and, in its condensed form, pencil - really took hold. Apart from the dense blacks that had not been possible even when working exlusively with 8b graphite pencil, the tonal possibilities provided by charcoal dust, the fine detail achievable with the pencils, and the mark-making potential of both putty rubber and fine-tipped powered eraser enabled me to work with a wider range of tonal and textural effects.

Two things have emerged while producing this series of works:

1) Rather than looping back into linoprints, these drawings provide a natural startpoint for the exploration of mezzotint printmaking - a complex technique that I've long wanted to explore. As someone who loves the process of printmaking, the tonal qualities of these drawings cry out for a print medium that will allow me to explore them further - mezzotint is the only technique that can enable this providing, as it does, a means of working with a full tonal range within the context of a detailed drawing

2) Both the deep dive into full tonal work, which has led me to choose subjects that I would be less likely to consider for linoprint, and the intensive and detailed work involved (most of the drawings on this page have taken between 80 and 150 hours to produce (each leaf in the Oak Leaves drawing took about 8 hours to draw!) have given me a lot of time to think about why I choose my subjects. This thought process evolved as I moved from drawing to drawing and while I'm not finally decided on all the finer points, I have come to realise that this work is about responding to natural forms that resonate in a particular way with me - one that feels as if I'm going a little more deeply into the response of the mind when interacting with these sometimes subtle, but always powerful, natural objects and habitats. I'll write more on this later, as the idea takes shape!

The drawings shown here are in order of most recent at the top. You can click on each drawing to view an enlarged version of it:

Coastline - Penwith, Cornwall - charcoal drawing - 60x40cm
Boulder Pool, Dartmoor - charcoal drawing - 60x40cm
Trippet Stane Circle, Bodnmin Moor, Cornwall - charcoal drawing - 60x40cm
Hay Tor, Dartmoor - charcoal drawing - 60x40cm
The Rocks of Moorsand Beach, Devon - charcoal drawing - 60x40cm
Sycamore Leaf - graphite pencil drawing - 60x40cm
Coverack Boulders - graphite pencil drawing - 60x40cm
Sycamore seeds - graphite pencil drawing - 60x40cm
The edge of Dartmoor - graphite pencil drawing - 60x40cm
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