Parallel Project

What's this about? At the moment I'm not quite sure. I'm starting by drawing in my local area. This is partly in response to Paul Nobson's dystopian drawings of Nobson which have a theme of "social hopelessness" (ref. Tate) I live in a new town and I think that there is a different story here of people making the best of sometimes difficult circumstances. I'm also interested in how real people corrupt the utopian vision of the original planners. I'm not sure how I can represent this so I'm starting by drawing and seeing where it takes me.
Sitting on the bench at the other side of the crossroads from my house. Sunny day, nobody noticed me.

I turned and drew an alternative view.
Redrawn at home with fine liners and coloured pencils

Rapid sketch before work of the view from my front room.

Drawn in the shopping centre from the warmth of my car

Turned to draw the corner between the shops. This view is more interesting
and the pub.
Inspiration: Arthur Berry work described as partway between painting and drawing. Urban landscapes that look like they have been hewn from stone. Muted but light colours and evidence of the drawn line. British 20th Century Modern Northern Art
My other proposed project is to look at the old paper mill down the other side of town which is being made into a museum The Apsley Paper Trail

 Using thick lines to define the structures I want to draw attention to is a technique I have borrowed from Lucinda Rogers and Veronica Lawlor
Some disused mill machinery and canada geese on the canal 

The mill does interesting guided tours but there is no time to stop and draw so I plucked up courage to ask to visit just to draw.
These drawings were done on paper made at the mill. In the spirit of Assignment 2 it seems fitting.
The Fourdriner Machine (not currently in use)

A close up looking through the drums and rollers to the cogs behind. This might be the most interesting of the drawings.

The paper pulper

A sheet paper cutter in action (left) and a section of the machine which is currently used to make the paper I used.
Whilst I had a great day and took a big step towards both announcing myself as an art student and drawing where I knew my work would be inspected by interested parties the drawings aren't very exciting.

Pathe news clip about the New Town
BFI film about the New Town
In black and white with commentary
Or in colour without

I was lucky to be able to attend the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Manchester and to do some workshops which challenged the way I normally work. The first considered rules of composition and the application of colour before drawing into it with a water-soluble pencil. We went to the wonderful Royal Exchange Theatre  with Isabel Carmona and Len Grant.

Next using different ways to represent space.
A drawing in the round looking at the whole of Barton Arcade which is a beautiful but rather complicated shopping arcade with a Catalan illustrator called Swasky 
And the same arcade, this time I sat in one place but turned on the spot to get different views then linked them together.

Also a workshop with Veronica Lawlor who is one of my illustration heroes looking at thumbnails to simplify complicated structures and explore composition 
  in the Castlefields area which has trains, canals and complicated bridges

I stayed in the Holiday Inn with a view of the Palace Hotel. This was drawn  in pencil after dark with colour and ink added over the top. I tried to keep it loose and expressive but I'm not keen on the colour of the sky.

 This is the same view in the daylight which needs more definition.
I took this information and some of the exercises in Part 3 and decided to draw the flats near my house in charcoal attached to a long stick to make my lines less controlled. Then I added a loose wash of gouache with a 2inch paintbrush which I held at the very end to keep the application loose. I used a   red brown felt tip as a contrasting colour and defined the buildings using a continuous line then defined shadows and highlights with coloured pencil. Finally I added collaged green paper for the foliage.

It's different to what I would normally draw and does look more lively than a more careful drawing. Retrospectively I could talk about symbolism, the wobbly lines representing the uncertainty of life, the continuous line representing the ongoing occupation of the flats by different people, the collage representing the way different people apply their lives to the blank canvas of the flat that they move into. I would be lying as I was just trying different techniques and trying to make something that I found pleasing to look at but is this a step towards more meaningful work?

Tutor feedback

My tutor suggested that I look at the work of Garry Barker who uses drawings made while walking his local area to provide inspiration for bigger works. I like the way he plays with perspective, I am becoming interested in the variety of ways we depict what we can see, particularly when we move away from the tyranny of linear and arial perspective. He has some interesting ways of generating and combining ideas using cards placed randomly on the paper, smaller, on the spot drawings and drawings of dreams. However I do find his work quite dark and a little disturbing even though the subject matter is benign. It is the way he combines normal objects, the repetition of motifs and the style of drawing, which is quite naive at times, that makes the work dark for me.

She also suggested that I further research psychogeography I have read Merlin Coverley's book Psychogeography from the Pocket Essentials series but found it a bit difficult to follow as it bases it's arguments on books that I have never read. The lovely Tate has an area on it's website which is much more informative. Essentially the Tate defines psychogeography as asking how different places make us feel and behave. You can consider the history of the place and how that may project forward to influence the present. Some of that is due to the remnants of the past in the form of buildings and topography some is a bit mystic, does the fact that Centrepoint was built on an old leper colony influence the later congregation of drunks and junkies in the area?

To make it easier to follow I have started a dedicated blog for my parallel project . Please go to

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