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___Where I work

I don't have a studio and use what space I can find in the house I've lived in since I was 4 years old. I work from my own digital photographs which I print onto nkjet printer. I also make sketches directly from the pc monitor.

Works in progress in my studio

Indespensible item: My daylight lamp

Making a sketch from in front of th television

Indespensible item: My USB Seagate external drive (for backups of my photo's)



Although I work almost entirely indoors my inspiration comes from nature. I live in an urban area and as I don't drive I depend on days out, mostly at weekends, when I take my photographs and live the experience of the landscape and the details that inspire me. I take these home with me as digital images stored within then downloaded from my camera; the illusion of tangeability. These photographs, be they pixels of light on the screen or dots of ink on the page, are bound to the memory and supported by it. So in many ways, when these images are made again as drawings I am re-living the experience of being in these places of inspiration as well as transforming them into artwork.


Pen & Ink

For the past decade or so I have concentrated mainly on pen and ink drawings, using a steel dip pen with Black Indian Ink. Recently I have begun experimenting with other coloured inks, and even more recently using ink applied by airbrush. Most of the work in the gallery however are executed in pure pen and ink. I use various size nibs, from the finest most delicate point to a chunkier nib that produces a more robust line. I utilise a variety of mark making techniques including cross hatching, stippling, scribbling and pure line. A piece like Still Water will take me weeks to complete, progress can be slow and working with fine pens over a long time takes its toll on the eyes. I have to rest my eyes regularly because of the strain working this way puts on them. I enjoy working exensively on a piece, combining line and stippling, layering texture upon texture until the surface of the paper seeths with marks and an illusion of depth and complexity. My work is far from being photo realist. Straight forward representation does not really interest me, I am more interested in animating the paper with varied and delicate mark making, capturing a sinuous and natural line, emphasising the grace of nature's pattern as well as a sense of static drama, light and shade.


'Easter Sunday 2012' in progress. Take a look at the finished drawing here



Nature is my inspiration, the textures, shapes, lines and atmosperes of wild places, be they wild in the grand scale of the remote or as an untidy overgrown woodland. Although I love a beautifully constructed garden, I also love a slightly wild woodland scene, and those untidy corners where nature and gravity have full reign.

Man's intervention is present in the form of grafitti. Over the years I have taken photographs of grafitti in many forms, carved into castle walls or chiselled into wooden sills, drawn with a felt tip pen or biro or sprayed with an aerosol can. In my drawings however grafitti is nearly always carved into a living tree, and I see this as a kind of momento mori.

A recent theme for me has been fenced off spaces, fences of barbed wire or wood, these represent to me an emotional state - that of nature repressed, be it green nature or the human nature. This is a theme I would like to explore more.

I am also drawn to water, still water or rushing, hurrying water with light bouncing through or lying torpidly upon it. Again the water recalls for me a state of emotion. I am also drawn to the contrast between foliage and water, for instance blossom and rushing water, which reminds me of the fragility of life itself and how both sad and beautiful this fragility can be. The poetry of these images is something else I would like to explore in time.



How I work

I make my drawings from photographs taken on my digital camera and I print these out on my inkjet printer. These are stored (and backed up on 2 further external drives, just in case) on an external drive from which I periodically select images to develop into artworks. Sometime I will sketch images I'm interested in directy from the computer screen (I use a laptop with an external monitor which I output my images to) but my working images are nearly always printed out using a simple inkjet printer.

On a few lucky occasions I will feel strongly enough about an image; perhaps the subject matter holds a symbolic meaning for me (grafitti, water, fence) or I will be drawn to a visual pattern, for instance the sinuous lines formed by the branches of rhododendron or the light on a tree or a path (shadows in nature are a fascinating thing), in which case I will dive straight in with a drawing from the printed photograph. Other times I am stricken by a kind of paralysis (the child in a sweetshop kind) and I can't decide which piece to start first (as each pen and ink drawing takes so long to complete, each new piece of work is a big commitment). So I have a lever arch file into which I put the photographs I've printed to look through at a later time, sometimes I make sketches from these photographs to help me work out what I want to achieve in a piece. I also refer to the very quick sketches I make from the screen as well as those I make from the photographs to plan future pieces.

Apart from this there is usually very little other planning invoved. I find that overplanning is damaging to the work and prefer to be spontainious, hence I often change some little thing during the pen drawing, and hence there are often out paintings in many of my drawings, either of unsatisfactory lines or of accidental ink blots.

That said, the finished piece tends not to vary too much from the original photograph. I go out with my camera with the intention of making photographs to work from, and so the photograph usually contains more than a germ of the finished piece.

Design takes place as much through the eye as it does through the pen or pencil.

What I'm doing at the moment

Details of recently progress can be found on my blog.


Q & A

If there's anything you'd like to know about any aspect of my work, please e-mail me, I'll do my best to answer you and I'll post my response on this website.

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Page updated: 13 June 2013

All content, writing, artwork, photography and design © Kay Fletcher 2008 - 2013