I haven't added much new work to my portfolio lately, having had rather a lot of distractions including a very big milestone of a birthday to get through. I'm not usually one to make a fuss about birthdays, but this one felt rather more significant than others. I don't feel any older, basically everything just hurts the same as it did when I was 69, but entering a new decade seems to be a massive event, and not in a good way.
It makes me think of the many very close friends and family I have lost over the years, mostly people of a similar age to me, some very much younger. With all of the health problems and life threatening injuries I've endured, plus a few hair raising situations I found myself in during my younger days, I find myself wondering why the hell am I still here when other seemingly more healthy individuals, certainly less prone to serial risk taking than I, didn't make it this far. Am I suffering a form of survivors guilt? I don't know but it sometimes keeps me awake at night.
However I did my best to enjoy my birthday. It was full of nice surprises. As well as plenty of fancy food (and gin) I received from various members of my family, I received a beautiful original painting from my daughter, painted by my Scottish friend and fellow artist Kosana Kirbyson. This is the third painting by Kos (pronounced KOSS!) that I have acquired, and I love them all.
It's the texture and colour choices that attracts me to them, along with the subject matter which although based on Scottish landscapes, is also very suggestive of the area in which I live. Bono the JR and serial photobomber appears to approve too.
I also received another blues harmonica from my grandson Charlie to add to my rapidly expanding set, a Hohner Special 20 which is a distraction in itself. It's sitting on my desk now, begging to be played.
Back to the present though, last week I knuckled down and began a new pencil drawing, for now entitled 'Titanic Embrace'. As you can see above, it involves a couple of elephants. This subject seems to sell very well for me so I never have many in my gallery left to sell. I did draw a loosely similar one several years ago entitled 'Greetings', which has stood me in good stead with print sales, so I'm hoping this one will go on to earn its keep in a similar way. It will be roughly 17 x 12 inches once complete.
For this piece I'm trialling a pad of Hahnemühle Nostalgie paper which I have to say I absolutely love. Comparing it to my usual Stonehenge paper the Hahnemühle has slightly less tooth to it, but enough to enable rich dark tones and textural effects while not losing the faculty to produce fine detail. It has a good weight and a wonderful silky matt surface. However, not as smooth as Bristol board so much more versatile. I reckon it will be excellent for coloured pencil work too, we shall see, but I think this may be my 'go-to' paper in the future, certainly for graphite pencil work.
Well, I'm away now to polish off the last remains of my three birthday cakes, and wash it down with a large gin. That's what I call a breakfast.... I'll post further progress on my drawing next week.