2017 was the year I started to take my work outside. I choose to continue to explore my interest in the oil pastels, using them to articulate not just the light and colour in the human form but now also to relay the world around me. The result was a series of studies made in at Londons canals and on my travels abroad that year.
My favorite haunt for drawing in 2017 was the canals of Islington. It is on the canals that I can see vividly the battle ground between light and shadow. It is where I have delved to the depths of representing the darkness of dark and the lightness of light. This was my final outside, canal drawing of the year. An image I feel is a good conclusion to the years’ work on capturing the beauty of this particular stretch of canal
I visited my friends in Bamwell with the desperate urge to draw all the countryside all the time. I was almost feverish with desire at this point. Lucky for me my two friends were willing to draw with me and the weather was amazing.
Whilst on one of our walks we stopped at this stunning view through cheddar gorge and over the town of cheddar itself. All three of up sat for an hour to capture the view as fellow walkers stopped and took pictures and drank in the scene
My trip with a group of friends in 2017 was an intense frenzy of activity. There were however 2 opportunities for me to draw that week. One of these opportunities was on the island of Kaoh Rung. Whilst my friends went for a leisurely row in the swamps I packed my oil pastels and headed into in search of drawing spots.
One such spot was on a walkway across a lagoon. Quickly I realised that the heat was going to be a problem. As my oil pastels melted unto paper my sweat dripped into the work itself and mosquitoes relished at the taste of my blood. One respite was the joy that my endeavour brought to passers-by. This image holds all those memories within it
Family holidays since my childhood have etched Tenby onto my psyche. Many of my favourite childhood memories are there and it’s also where one of my first landscape/townscape drawings were made. I returned with my family in 2017, this time with a Niece and Nephew in tow. I was also very much switched on to drawing pleinair sketches with my Oil Pastels at this time. I recall now that my Niece protested at how I’d become boring, now that I was drawing instead of constantly building barricades and digging ditches. It’s ironic that it is the drawing and creative play we were both doing in the years prior to this trip are factors responsible for my current obsession with drawing and painting outside.
During this trip, I made a couple of oil pastel sketches from some the cliffs that I used to play on as a child. These sketches were then used back at the holiday flat when painting my first oil painting. This is a revolutionary moment for me
This one is messy but the real key is in the misty bit on the left where I really started to experiment with the oil bar
The nature of my full-time employment at the time meant that would will move from organisation to organisation for short periods. During the second half of 2017 I was placed in a position at Microsoft. Although this meant that I would commute to Paddington daily there was one visit to their head office in Seattle and I took the opportunity to pack a pad and my oil pastels.
I was lucky enough to get some good autumnal sunshine but there was one problem, work. I wasn’t particularly enjoying the project at this point which made the pull of the country side even stronger than it would normally. The only respite was that my workspace had a tremendous view of trees and mountains of Redmond.
On the third day, I could hold in my desperation to draw no longer. I had scoped the Microsoft campus grounds for potential lunchtime draws BUT there was nothing to inspire me to the level of the real nature that lay just beyond the well-kept grounds of the Microsoft campus. I woke up early in the morning grabbed an Uber to Lake Sammamish. The mist on the lake and the morning light took my breath away. I did not want to leave, I wanted to stay with the fishermen on the pier. I almost packed in work there and then. This experience has left a permanent mark onto my soul. Singularly the best thing to come out of my 7 months working with Microsoft.