The reason I value the act of drawing is because it is a time-based visual experience that involves using all of one’s being. The search for truth in a drawing is as important to me as the finished result. And the history of that search, the evidence of that struggle is as beautiful to me as a ‘beautiful’ drawing. A hand drawn image is ambiguous, invites questioning, transformation and can invite change, it can work as metaphor – it is thought made visual. I draw in several different ways…

Life drawing is something I try to do regularly. Making an observed drawing is like exercising ones creative ‘muscles’. It needs hand, eye and brain - it is completely absorbing mentally and physically over a period of time. Synaptic connections are made between physical and mental processes, creating complete activity, releasing both physical and mental freedom. Time is a precious commodity. To look, consider, act and adjust, to be still and observe in this fast-moving, visually confusing world is a necessity for me.

Life-drawing is a discipline that makes my vision acute. Through it I see space, form and light more clearly. Although intense, the relationship between the model and artist as co-workers is limited by time, the light changes through the day, one has to ‘react’ with one’s whole self instinctively while keeping alert and critical – assessing, reassessing, questioning and above all looking to find a path through complexity. The shared space and momentum of life drawing bring a clarity of purpose and concentration.

Drawing from memory is also a discipline that is productive for me. I concentrate on experiencing situations visually, then make ink drawings using either pen or brush…the result is often very much more intense than photographs taken of the same subject because the brain has the capacity for distilling and intensifying what you remember. You haven’t just used your eyes to record what you have seen, but have used all of the brain to record the essential experience. The medium also adds to the creative mix. This method of working has allowed me to make drawings and paintings of the world underwater. 

Drawing also builds my confidence in mark-making and exploring ideas. I don’t usually draw to work out ideas for oil paintings but, of course, because I have rehearsed these physical and mental acts, I am braver. Ideas ‘slip out’ from my subconscious, like one imagines they do in a hypnotic trance. (Agnes Martin believed that creativity was at its pinnacle when it was unconscious.) While my logical brain is occupied in making the marks on paper my imagination is free to roam - ‘Doing to think’ as in my paintings.

When I look at the drawings of other artists I sense that I am close to their inner core – there is less artifice, it seems a direct and honest relationship between us.