Choosing the items for the still life appeared initially to be completely random but I soon realised they would become very significant when brought together.
- The Doll :- I have done a lot of work with this doll which was initially dressed and had long hair. A couple of years ago we had a deconstruction workshop where we took an object and slowly deconstructed it whilst documenting the process with photographs. At the time I was aware that I could have taken this further but stopped when I had shorn her hair. She has come to signify a child – or me reduced to bare essentials – more of this later.
- The Plant :- this is a succulent a type of plant that I particularly like. I have what I call brown fingers when it comes to indoor plants and succulents manage to survive because I don’t have to remember to water them too often. There is something that is meaningful to me about the survival instinct of this species.
- The Plastic Monkey:- This is a toy of one of my grandchildren. It is in a box because its playfulness is restricted.
- The Vegetable:- In the next section I will describe the context of the still life but a sweet potato (hanging) seems to signify sweet hopeful nourishment
- The Pickles:- Again in the next section – Research and Context I will explain more but these are not pickles but bitter gourds which I bought from our Bangladeshi shop round the corner. The fact that they are bitter is significant but also they are exotic in some way.
When I put all the items together they became in my mind Allegory to Childhood with a very strong message about my experiences growing up. Staring this drawing course seems to have awakened significant thoughts about what I am trying to achieve in my art. Before I started I was very much randomly working on different ideas but they did not have context. Having to become more discerning and deliberate not only in my drawing but in the thinking behind the drawing has triggered interesting, dark, and significant content.
Postscript: I have always admired Odilon Redon’s vibrant pastel drawings and had not know before this assignment of his”noirs” . I think that they have been a big influence on the choice of the final composition and to some extent content for this drawing task.
The other part that has interested me is reading about the way he sealed his drawings at various stages and with various concoctions. I would like in the future to have more time to look at what this would mean in terms of building up a denser surface over time. Also the discolouration has a resonance with time and change for me.