Tag Archives: drawing

Albrect Dürer

I’m watching the documentary ‘Ego:The Strange and Wonderful World of Self-Portraits‘ on BBC 4 and what a wonder it is. It begins with the now obligatory nod to the Selfie Revolution and today’s all pervading narcissism.

It then moves onto one of the most glorious self-portraits made by an artist ever.


The self-portrait by Albrect Dürer painted in 1500 is like the ultimate hipster having let his top-knot down for a vain, self-conscious mirror selfie to post on a famous ‘swipe right’ site. His golden curls are tight and precise, draped evenly over his shoulders, like a pyramid, like his capital ‘A’ & ‘D’,  his initials with a cropped crown. He is dressed in silk and fur with the shadow of the latest iPhone just peeking from his hand. The self-portrait is strong and confident and face on to the viewer, yet the eyes are looking over the viewers left shoulder. Like the viewer is less important than the reflection of the artists’ image in the mirror. Dürer is Rock-God and I am his ultimate groupie. Shocking in his time for the likeness to Jesus. This painting is mesmerising and I had almost forgotten how much I love him and his work. A consummate draughtsman and printmaker, one of the artists I had to study during my traditional art school training. Revisiting an artwork, or even an artist, ensures you revisit yourself and your own practice, and ultimately grow & develop  that practice  further.

In addition to the image above, the documentary, presented by Laura Cumming (the Observer’s Art critic), looks at 5 centuries of Self-Portraiture and there are many examples of fine work. In particular, the closer look at the variety of Rembrandt’s self-portraits and her visit to the Vasari Corridor, in the Uffizi Museum, which houses the largest collection of Artist’s Self-Portraits in the world.

The link to BBC iPlayer is only live for a further 23 days and please be aware that you may not be able to access this programme from outside the UK.



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Filed under Artists, Reviews: exhibitions, fairs, shows...

Topographical Portraits



‘Norwich’ Ed Fairburn, 2013

I find these images incredibly moving & intimate.
I love maps, geography & topography…to combine them with portraits, with such masterly skill in pen & ink leaves me breathless. To see the same sitter from so many angles, makes one curious to see if touching that skin will allow her to exhale & make the skin move.
I want to see an animated version of this work…


‘San Juan Mountains ‘ Ed Fairburn

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Filed under Artists, Writing: Prose & Poetry


I just read the previous wonderful post .
It got me thinking, I really ought to write more, you know with a pen, on paper.
I screenprinted my own handwriting in my last print project & blowing it up on the photocopier was like an epiphany.

People have told me in the past that I have nice handwriting,  creative handwriting,  loopy handwriting. I didn’t believe them. Just like I didn’t believe it when they said I have nice hands, creative hands. It meant I must have a creative mind, did it make me a nice person? But it really meant I had a loopy mind, a creative mind, a messy, cluttered, chaotic, busy mind. A mind to get lost in. A mind to lose. It’s here somewhere, in a box. Stacked on a shelf. With my books and things, so many things. All creative, nice,  and loopy like my handwriting.

I love reading other people’s handwriting as equally as detesting my own. Never truly legible, scrawly, looping across a page. Letters missing or poorly formed.
Today I lie here in bed, in pain, unable to move, because of my handwriting.
This week I spent on average 75+ hours handwriting. My arm aches, my thumb is swollen, the skin on my fingers nibbled to bleeding with the sheer anxiety of a deadline, that passed, was missed and was unimportant in the end.

My Opus. 50 sides of A4. Plus a 40 page booklet, all handwritten. Flowing, mindfully, mindlessly on and on and on. An application to be officially designated, finally acknowledged, recognised as a person. Who lives in pain. Always. Forever. My final jump through endless beaurocratic paper hoops.
My mission, to make the powers that be, listen to me. Anyone listen to me. Believe me. Care for me. Few people in my life know the truth. I don’t let them. I smile and front, I hide and isolate myself. So noone sees. So few care. So few open their eyes.
The one thing that kept jumping off the page, was my handwriting. The cruel, cold memory of being punished for my poor handwriting at school, with extra handwriting practice. The many hundreds of extra lines I wrote, more than others who had less to say. Now so cruelly, mirroring every raw emotion that stems from me. The apologies I wrote even then, to teachers but never to myself. I used my pencil to draw, and draw some more. I was free to draw and drawing made me free. I need to draw, to follow a line, to loop it and see, where it takes me. I wish I had spent 75+ hours drawing not writing. Yet I never do now, so rarely and not nearly enough.
I feel an urge to combine my Opus with drawing. Drawing and writing, my arch nemesis and me. Pitched in a battle within my mind, for the world to finally see.
All that effort should not go wasted. The pain in my chest, induced by the physical act of writing, so much, so long, in such an intense cathartic manner. It must mean something? It MUST mean something. IT must mean something.

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Filed under Reflections, Writing: Prose & Poetry