Tag Archives: Thinking

The Black paintings

Darkness as wrapping

Black is the dark energy from which the universe is spawned.

It is the source of light and colour.image

It reveals as much as it conceals

Like an empty stage, black is portent, potent and pregnant, but paused in anticipation. Black is. silent.

imageWarm and inviting or threatening to freeze like its close relative, Chaos,

Black can swallow substance like a fog,devouring shape and masking the weight of dreams.Yet it  sharpens the battle axe edge with Bintent,given form to follow.

Given subtlety, black takes on the character of its mixturesnjxs

It mutates into grey.

I The ancient ones knew  all colours came from black and white.  Our age was spawned by  Newtons prisms.For over 150 years we have been afraid of black.


“Never use black” intoned as incantation by generations.You have heard it yourself. Maybe said it yourself.This ought to be described as a clinically diagnosable medical condition and mandatorily notifiable contagious aesthetic position.


Certainly the so called impressionist painters had no qualms about using black. They didn’t let  theory spoil a good picture .And there are many.  Gray pictures ,using blacks and completed in the studio.

I have learned from the atelier to mix even my lights with black


I sing in praise of black.

A blank wall and a burnt stick.


Brian E Deagon 2015

It looks just like a photo

It looks just like a photograph!
After a period, say four weeks, drawing every day for a morning session of 3hours, you might expect verisimilitude.  Thats 15hours per week.  When someone claims “it took a month” they mean 60 hours at an easle. At Salisbury we have the model pose for 5 hours for 5 weeks. A maximum of 25 hours. Is it enough?
Doing what.? And i have a serious case of the”why bother”s
There is no doubt that i have not pushed my drawing far enough. I have stopped before the hand had veins and dirty fingernails. Or.. Before the light on her foot was knocked back a quarter tone so the ” cone of light” had the correct drop off from head to foot. Its not always more detail. It is often about relative balance and relationships. Its about fine distinctions between form shadow and cast shadow in the folds of his belly. About planar structure and the consistent angle of incidence of the light, then the “lifting out” of the most subtle bounced light in the deepest shadow.
I simply did not know enough. Or didnt apply what i did know. And time really is of the essence. Because the knowledge ,attitude and skills you bring to a 60 second sketch are not the same that informs a 5 minute sketch. Or a 15 minute or an hour drawing. And when does a sketch become a drawing? The fact is, these are all different events. And, like an athlete, we need to prepare and practice for each event in which we hope to succed.
Few are marathon runners. Yet anyone can go the distance. I have seen many spend days scratching at the same drawing to no effect. Other than perseverance no other virtue was displayed beyond a rudimentary exactitude of tone, concieved and executed as a Photoshop jigsaw puzzle.
The true marathon drawing  exhibits knowledge,skills and attitude of an extraordinary degree. And it is all executed to plan. After a while, the graphite begins to feel different. Then you realise the drawing is in layers, and where the poor draughtsman obscures them, the good leaves them still operating in a surface that has depths mimicing human skin. Then you realise that from the first mark ,the final result is in mind. Each layer of drawing doesnt simply restate, but deals with another issue. This is why Vavagiakis draws “in a circle” around his drawing never staying in one place, its still developing, how dark should it be?” I dont know yet”
Gadually the drawing emerges from the successive layers of knowledge. Vavagiakis likens the use of graphite and conte to glazing and scumbling.
Truth is, I had become adept at the 5 minute sketch. No mean feat ,and every reason to be proud of them. But i simply did not know enough to do a  competent 4 hour drawing, never mind a 20 hour one. And this leaves aside the issue of taking an hour to do a 5 minute sketch!
So I return, not triumphant, but stimulated. It might be the coffee. But i do want to pusue the long drawing. Now i know what to put in one
Brian Deagon 21/02/2014

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“What are you thinking about?”

The other night a tutor asked me” What are you thinking about?”as I was drawing. I muttered” line,shape,tension,space,light,bone, muscle and proportion” .She said” No, I mean when you are drawing.”

I had to really think,but couldn’t answer. A day later, I realised the answer was, ” When I am drawing well, I don’t.” I am a silent and almost passive witness to a conversation between the pen and the model. Only when I bugger it up, do I have to think.

This sits well with research on decision making in pressure situations.Go with your instincts or get it wrong. Its also why practice makes perfect.

Brian E Deagon
Thursday November 10th, 2011 9:47