Drawing upon Drawing

Drawings, Galleries, Workshops

So much has been happening of late that I haven’t had time to finish a blog entry. I was thinking of merging them into one but will try to be focused and get it done in two.

The sculptor has had various interesting meetings recently which included a workshop for the first time which went well. It was focused on his exhibition and for the participants to create a sculpture but he wanted the group to focus on drawing their idea first. A large collection of work went in a restaurant in the middle of Bradford city centre, and that followed with a radio interview for BBC Radio Leeds. (Sound bite will only last for the night 3 days and he is speaking at roughly 40.43).

The sculptor talking about ‘drawing’ at the responses to art workshop

The sculptor talking about ‘drawing’ at the responses to art workshop

We all went for ‘The Big Draw’ at Cartwright Hall during half term and had well over 100 people draw on huge paper which we intended to wrap around the building but it was too windy on the day when we wee finishing. It was really interesting to see patterns in drawing.

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Four year olds drawing of people, The BIg Draw 29th October

Lots of 4-year-old drawing circles, dots and lines to represent bodies. Parents drawing houses, some finding inspiration from their family. A grandparent sat for a good while some fantastic shading in of a beautiful snail his granddaughter had drawn. A young boy drew his fish tank with amazing detail and a family came in to warm up from the park and covered their paper in ducks and birds and visions inspired by Lister Park. Upstairs in the gallery Tim Curits , another local artist who does lots of drawing in his own practise, they were looking at a college and self portraits and making pictures of themselves with newspaper. Drawing upon a lovely collection of Hockney’s drawings and college work.  Our eldest, feeling comfortable to roam the gallery by himself went to see what was happening in Tim’s workshop and usually keen to do anything creative declined out of loyalty to Baba downstairs. It was the first time for my husband to do this community art workshop event. We had thought that we would ask family to look at each other and draw each other , perhaps looking at the style of my husband’s sculpture. However, when its a drop in and the numbers fluctuate with busier times and quieter times it was just good to see people sitting and drawing and not being too prescriptive.

The gallery was a hive of activity and what was also interesting was seeing on one wall in the Hockney exhibition, all the drawings were hung at child’s eye level and there were little drawings of Hockney to find around the exhibition. So with the Big Draw event, Julia Donaldson exhibition and curators hanging work directly for children there is no better place or time to introduce children to the wold of museums and galleries so I totally agree with Jake Chapman and his quite ridiculous statement about children and galleries.

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Our eldest’s drawing at The bIg draw event at Cartwright

Children aren’t suddenly going to want to go to an art gallery at 18 if they have been ousted in infancy. Art and drawing is already squeezed out of the main stream too much. Drawing is such an important and valuable skill and something we forget to continue to do as we grow older. With my husband and eldest constantly drawing it is something that happens in our house naturally but something I personally don’t take time to do. After such a busy half term the house is in a state where I have drawers to wash, draws to put things away into, we have been rushing around so much and leaving a mess.

I noticed this morning a sudden drop in temperature, the skyline grey and wintry. Like shades of  newly sharpened pencils crisp and fresh. Time to sit down, wrap up and draw.

 

 

‘From Donald Winnicott to the naughty step’

Colour, Connections, Exhibitions, Making, Mother and Child, Philosophy, Public Art, Soul searching, Steel

‘The mother, ready for paint’

'head in colour'

‘head in colour’

'in colour'

‘in colour’

'from the side'

‘from the side’

'The child'

‘The child’

'In colour'

‘In colour’

'Mother and child' ready for polishing

‘Mother and child’ ready for polishing

'Mother and child'

‘Mother and child’

'Mother an Child' in the studio

‘Mother an Child’ in the studio


‘From Donald Winnicott to the naughty step’ was broadcasting as I drove home last night from meeting up with a group of friends I hadn’t seen in a while. The night sky was still light so it was a lovely spring evening drive back and I found this fascinating and felt in total agreement with what was being discussed. “Seventy years ago the psychoanalyst and parenting expert Donald Winnicott first broadcast his idea of the ‘good-enough mother’; the mother who wasn’t perfect and was free, to some extent, to fail. From 1943-1962 he gave some 50 BBC broadcasts. Aimed directly at mothers, they had a profound impact on popular ideas about motherhood.”

In tandem I was thinking about writing about the progress that was being made for the pieces for the solo exhibition as part of the FIRST@108 award. Up until now I have mostly written about finished works and only occasionally  the process but actually now there is a need to document the process running up to the exhibition in October. The first piece for the solo exhibition is a reoccurring theme both in colour and subject, as are the discussions like the one I was hearing on the radio about;

Mother and Child

Winnicott’s ideas seemed to fit perfectly with this piece, “the idea of the body as important and needing to be taking seriously in bodily complaint but also the part the mind has to play in organising those or influencing them or producing them.” In the sculpture we see the mother in pink but if we look closer there is a subtle difference between the ‘body’ and the ‘mind’.  The mother is facing the child, the indicators of eyes from the tiny holes suggest visual contact. So important in seeing the child from a psychological point of view as well as a bodily and physiological one.

It is one of the reasons I find it so easy to write about the sculptures my husband makes, in that they visual pictorial observations of human society, the human condition. Winntcott observed and was alert to the tiny signals, observation and listening to mothers and he documented this. It was almost mesmerizing listening to his strange dictation played back and it connects so well with this sculpture.

He spoke of the child being separated from the mother, “you are always an isolate, by the time he is born he has had experience both pleasant and unpleasant” which is visualised in this sculpture. The baby separated visually, literally from the mother yet fitting like a puzzle into one shape.. I can see this but I also think in the first three years there is a slow physical and mental detachment from the mother in to the ‘world’. The child in this piece also looks like a step, the naughty step we so often here spoken of today. Winnicott tells mothers to trust their instincts and I think in general I do. In some ways it is the only thing I am fully impassioned and feel confident about. It irritates me when that is thrown off-balance. That can so easily happen in today’s society where we have all kinds of information and view points being bombarded at us. The questions are the same now as to the time he was speaking, and we seem to be in a constant battle between those very strict methods and ideology  a pose to more gentle approaches which I would class his as.

There are lots of mothers out there writing about motherhood and here are three I picked out of a bunch;

http://haywardhelen.wordpress.com/

http://studiomothers.com/

http://rhythmofthehome.com/

I do think we live in a society which down plays the importance of the role of the mother. We seem to focus on the wrong aspects. I would highly recommend listening to the programme and see what you think. Either way, it is one of those subjects which is going to be endlessly discussed and analysed. Some people write about it, some people analyse it and some people depict it. This one is to be polish and put aside ready for exhibition in October.

Self Actualisation

Beautiful Bronze, Colour, Philosophy, Relationships, Soul searching

I was listening to the radio whilst driving the other day and caught a snippet of discussion about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which was a visual map about what motivates people. It was said that if undergraduates of psychology recall anything they remember the pyramid diagram of the stage model of five motivational needs. I smiled because, indeed as my psychology degree lies somewhere hidden underneath the blankets of motherhood and I could visualise the pyramid and it’s five stages , well I could remember the first being food and shelter and the last being self actualisation, what ever that meant.

The radio programme went on to discuss that Maslow, only listed 18 people who had reached self actualisation, including Einstein and himself I think. When looking at the characteristics of self-actualizers to write this, I think my husband ticks most of the list. He is so unbelievably motivated. On the programme they discussed that Maslow’s conception was someone who had a “heightened sense of awareness and reality” or “completely absorbed in an activity and don’t know time passing”. I would say this is totally my husband and could give countless examples. The thinking is all about “Possibilities not restraints” and the possibilities of change and of the human being. 

There are so many flaws with Maslow’s theory especially if looking at artists. Van Gogh lived most his life in poverty and probably didn’t have the middle stages but arguments have said he was self actualised. However, I would perhaps argue Van Gogh wasn’t, he was exploring his creativity and pursuing inner talent but without the support of the base of the pyramidal needs he wasn’t able to reach self actualisation. My instinct is to think that in order to reach self actualisation you must have worked through the pyramidal needs. To have actually experienced what it is like to not have had. If we are from a privileged background where the basic needs of food and shelter are not tested and we become complacent that they are a given, then reaching our potential is hindered. The drive the ambition is not likely to be as great.

I am so unmotivated, far from being self actualised, however I do think in my role as ‘Sculptors wife’ could be classified totally as ‘helping others to achieve self s’. Which could put me at the peak of the pyramid in ‘Transcendence needs’  in the revised version and eight stage model. Not that it’s a competition or anything! Unfortunately that puts my whole theory on its head. I rather like the idea of being transcendent though I could get motivated about that 🙂

I have just trawled through my entries to see if I have put images of this piece up before. I was convinced I had but it wasn’t where I thought it was and looking very different in my past entry. It had a face lift after the fire, it is still bronze but somehow giving it this cover links with the ‘branding’ of my husband’s work. It sort of symbolises motivation. You do have to take that leap of faith and take the step forward in reaching your aims. I think Maslow would be happy with this;

big step 1

‘The Big Step Forward’

‘The Big Step Forward’

big step

‘The Big Step Forward’