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Tag Archives: African Wildlife

PutaliJBGuava003

Guava Branch, Watercolour on Tracing paper

So my collection of photos of this lovely place and my drawing practice have started to pay off. I have been asked to design a range of woodblock prints for fabric to be used in children and babywear. I have so relished this process, drawing and redrawing. Pattern and Form. I am looking forward to what the Indian craftsman make of it.

The friend that asked me to do it, asked me to draw emblematic East African animals and plants with a Indian sensibility. We swiftly eschewed Giraffes and Rhinos, in favour of the wonderful animals that are less often drawn and therefore more interesting. Whilst working on the drawings I realised how close this idea was to my previous practice in ceramic. In which I explored the cultural richness of East Africa, through working with Islamic decorative motifs on strong bold clay forms. One on another.

PutaliJBGerenuk2006

Gerenuk, Pencil Watercolour on Tracing Paper

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But that's not there

“But that’s not there,” erasing pencil drawing.

The brain is always guessing, filling in gaps, short-cutting visual information to build a reality.
“This is an object,” it says. “A three dimensional¬† object. Although you can’t see it this object has a back a side. You can’t see it now but I know it is there, from the shadows it makes, from the change in colour here or there.”

And so my hand attempts to draw this knowledge, the bits you can’t see. Tries to fill in the gaps, to leap to conclusions.
But I don’t want it to. When ‘life’ drawing I want to record only what I can see, not what I know to be there. I need to record these signs, shadows and contours, not bypass them.
It’s a constant battle, a drawing is a lie, a flat pretending to be a form.¬† Rubbing at the paper, erasing my failing drawing,¬† I am often heard muttering. “But that’s not there….”

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Vertebra Drawing, Pencil on Paper

 

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Found vertebra, Drawing, Pencil on Paper.

Not sure this is finished but I will stop for now. I found this bone exciting, the holes especially thrilling, and hard to draw. One more bone I reckon and then I shall move on….

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Sketch Book Drawing

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The Boran Cow

 

I am currently obsessed with the Boran cows here. They are completely beautiful. The texture of their skin appears like the folds of the softest velvet, their noble faces and hieroglyphic eyes make my heart a flutter. My first series of drawings will be of these wonderful creatures.