My first instinct was to make A4 prints of each of the four sketches:
then stick them onto a sheet of A1 with pieces of masking tape so I could move them around if I wanted to.
I wanted to.
I’d arranged them in order of style with my stylised Hokusai wave on the left and my Hambling on the right., then framed them in black gesso to pull them out of their support. This also added texture which gave me more ideas about connection. One of the things I’ve understood about series’ of images, maybe starting with religious triptychs, is that there’s usually a message of some sort – the artist is saying something. So what was I saying beyond hey look at these ‘in the style of’ drawings? I’d had a few lines from Moore’s poem set under the left hand side to lend meaning but this gradually lost its appeal as I began to see the whole rather than the four pieces stuck to a sheet of paper.
I moved the whales down beneath the towering wave to a place that it would be logistically possible if not very probable for them to break surface. Then gesso-ed over the other two which suddenly seemed incongruous.
Once the gesso had dried though I had a blackboard ready to take pastels and, after extending the top of the wave on the right, I found I had a way of pulling the images together. This involved re-sketching the other two compositions into the space on the left so that the direction of flow is from highly stylised to increasingly impressionistic and gestural. This seems to me also to reflect our changing understanding and appreciation of the sea and the creatures whose habitat it is.
The final sketch at this stage is in consequence a commentary on ignorant innocence giving way to knowledge and respect. The styles on the left are very linear and almost childlike (with huge respect to the artists whose work I’m drawing on), and as the whale I’d used for reference turned out to be an animation, I’ve added an explicit wire frame.
Looking at it on-screen, I’m seeing the blocks made by the A4 sheets stuck onto the cartridge and I quite like that sense of blocky disconnect. This is not one image smoothly migrating from one end to the other, it’s a series of jumps both in style and in thinking. The placement of the elements needs attentions – this feels too regular and lacking in dynamism. I need more diagonals and perspective although this isn’t always a feature of exhibited series’.
I’m seeing progress here, I need to make something of that now. Tomorrow though – it’s dark and my studio (aka conservatory) has no lighting so unless I’m going to use fluorescent* inks and a UV light, that’s it for now.
*No, absolutely not. No!