I haven’t written about it yet here, but when I’ve been up to it, I’ve been watching and painting along with Sky Art’s Portrait Artist of the Week, which is a live show on Sky’s fb page that’s happening as a Coronavirus replacement of their regular Portrait Artist of the Year programme. They invite portrait painter from a previous series and a celebrity sitter to come on the show from their own homes, converse and create a portrait over video. Viewers watch on fb live and are welcome to take part in painting their own version of the sitter then share their work on Instagram under the hashtag #mypaotw.
The sitter this week was the photographer Rankin. Coming from a photography background myself, I really enjoyed listening to the conversations. As I’m still unwell and wasn’t up for traditional painting (nor did I think it would be a good idea to paint in bed with my white sheets!), I worked on my iPad Pro, in Procreate, with my Apple Pencil. As always though, this is freehand, no tracing or digital trickery 🙂
I’ve been finding it disconcerting how much reality is imitating fiction.
We’ve watched for ages as Trump and Putin have used plausible deniability and so called ‘alternative facts’ to reframe reality, replacing truth with whatever they find convenient. Overtones of the dystopian within our times—think of George Orwell: ‘the mutability of the past’, ‘the denial of objective reality’. In 1984 he wrote, ‘who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past’. To watch this in action, even in other countries, was disturbing enough; for it now to be happening in UK as well and, during the initial stages of this pandemic, to watch most of the mainstream media and much of public completely enthralled by the government’s narrative… I’ve truly been at a loss for words.
Following international and independent journalists and scientists, it was obvious that when the UK government was saying it was science led, following the best advice, at the best times, the international community was watching with consternation. The data out of other countries was clear, it didn’t ‘change’, and every day the UK insisted things like mass gatherings weren’t likely to increase the spread of the virus, was another day which would inevitably lead to thousands more cases and eventually exponential growth. In a further step towards the dystopian, for some reason, the domestic media followed the government’s talking-points—perhaps they didn’t want to cause panic or perhaps individual journalists were being hemmed in by their corporate conductors, but they didn’t ask the questions that so obviously needed asking. News from other countries was a stark difference—they watched us from afar and calculated what things like lack of community testing, herd immunity, or not joining procurement schemes would mean for our country. In time, the media here started becoming more critical, but this took too long and only came after catalysts that could not be ignored, like open letters from scores of domestic scientists and academics.
The government eventually started following some of the internationally recommended procedures—social distancing, lockdowns, more testing—putting human lives ahead of political and economic fears. This was a huge step in the right direction, but even so, they refused to admit they could’ve done more sooner. They maintain they’ve done everything right all along, that we’ve avoided the worst, while, in reality, we have more deaths than any other European country.
At the start of the pandemic, the UK government’s response was at best inept and inadequate, at worst calculated and callous. I’m somewhat relieved to see they’re taking things more seriously at the moment—are not seemingly in a rush to obliterate the lockdown and run headlong into a second wave—but I don’t think we should forget how things have gone along the way or, in trying to be supportive citizens, lose our ability to think and question critically what is going on around us.
An owl we saw at the Hawk Conservancy Trust awhile back. If you’re into birds at all and are ever near Andover in the UK, it’s well worth a trip. Not entirely happy with how this drawing turned out (partly down to execution on my part and partly to using a new paper that I won’t be using with ink again), but sharing anyway as I’m behind on my Inktober pieces 😉
Small drawing (5cm x 5cm) of a coin that I recently saw and loved at the British Museum. It’s an Athenian Owl Tetradrachm dated from 460-404 BC. Obviously I found the owl cute, but I also very much like that Athena’s owl is a symbol of wisdom.
Drawn from a photo I took in Kyoto in 2015. This took me longer than I’d have liked (largely due to lack of time!), so I’m behind again on my Inktober drawings. Though that’s the case, I’m very much enjoying this process; I may not be posting every day, but I am drawing every single day and do plan to have 31 drawings by the end of the month 🙂
I haven’t been that well the last few days and the cat integration project has been intensive (we are making progress!) so I fell behind on my Inktober drawings. Was never going to be able to do four detailed ones in one day to make up time, so instead, here are three 5 minute sketches and now I can move on to today’s… after I have a nap ☺️
A quick ink and Copic drawing of a tiny ceramic maneki neko we bought in Kyoto. If anyone knows of somewhere we can find these specific little guys (see second photo) online, I’d love to know! They came in many poses and we should’ve bought more when we were there! ☺️
💡Lesson learned from this piece: blot Copic Markers before drawing with them if it’s been awhile since you used them!!! I did this drawing twice; the first time, when I started to ink the red for the ears, it soaked the paper, spread and ruined the drawing 😐
Based on a photo I took in Takayama a couple years ago. I converted the little tanuki statue into a real tanuki (at least I hope it looks like that!) Those in the know, will spot the eight symbol on the sake bottle and the straw hat.
💡Lesson learned from this piece: Think about how much time I have before starting a piece with a deadline 😋
I bit off more than I could chew on Day 3 by starting a drawing I didn’t really have time for and then having a migraine thrown into the mix, so I spent a lot of Day 4 working on Day 3. Rather than being down a day on my drawings, I drew this quick cat’s eye (Ponzu’s to be precise!), which took twenty minutes. Day 3’s drawing will be posted tomorrow along with whatever I come up with for Day 5.
💡Lesson learned from this piece: I think I feel a greater sense of freedom with smaller pieces as I don’t have so much time invested in them. I should carry that feeling into bigger pieces.