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Reflections: On Line Drawings.

Tuesday 21st November 2023

I notice in my own line drawings an emptiness, a hollowness, that is not present in my paintings, or even in my sketches. There is a certain emptying out, not just of colour, but of self, or spirit, that always feeds its way into other looser works. The line drawings are a copying; the paintings and sketches are an outpouring from within.

I feel that less of myself is contained within the black lines – how so? It is mechanical, representational, whereas other works feel more intimate, more me. It is as if the line drawings are an automatic making of the ego, and the sketches and paintings a creative outburst of the self.

Is it that I do not want to identify with the simple (and not simple!) line work – and why? I feel that the line work is technically ‘good’, but somehow inauthentic as it fails to reach deeper, more meaningful layers of myself. The blobs are somehow more meaningful than the lines (see Ingold, 'Line and Blob'). There is less control in the blobs, more technicality and restraint in the lines. My art wants to be free of my desire to control, and to revel in an out-of-control, masterless experience.

I am afraid of losing control – so why do I favour works that are so much less controlled and restrained than my ink lines? Is it that I need to see this dynamic in myself? Am I balancing myself out?

My artwork strives for an internal psychological balance. To revel in the free and the unknown, to shine light into the dark. The loose expressiveness scares me, and that is why I must face it. To neutralise the fear of loss, and to confront the perceived danger in losing control.

I observe that I am balancing myself out through my behaviours, and through the fears that drive those behaviours. This control/out-of-control dynamic is showing up in my art, and in the contrast between my paintings and line drawings.

I wonder – do people connect with artwork that balances them out by showing them their opposite, or do people connect with work that reinforces their behaviours? Perhaps it is different for each person, depending on whether somebody wants to change and see these things within themselves, or wants to remain eternally as they are.


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