Little Drawings

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Katherine asked to see some of the little drawings that I talked about in my last post. Here are a few of my favourites…

Pencil + gesso 15
Kirsty Hall: Drawing, Nov 08

Pencil + gesso 05
Kirsty Hall: Drawing, Nov 08

Pencil + gesso 07
Kirsty Hall: Drawing, Nov 08

Pencil + gesso 06
Kirsty Hall: Drawing, Nov 08

Pencil + gesso 04
Kirsty Hall: Drawing, Nov 08

Pencil + gesso 03
Kirsty Hall: Drawing, Nov 08

The torn edges are an important part of these drawings and I’m considering framing some onto larger sheets of watercolour paper so that the edges are retained. These are drawn on A6 cartridge paper (105 × 148mm) with a deliberately restricted palette: I’m ONLY allowing myself to use two pencils (a 2B and a 9B) and acrylic gesso. The greys are formed when the gesso mixes with the very soft 9B pencil. Working on this small scale and with such a limited choice of materials really frees me up to work quickly in an uninhibited fashion, which is absolutely what I need right now.

If you want to see more of these, check out my flickr pages.

When I was scanning these, I was thinking about the way that pencil is often regarded as a ‘neutral’ art material because it’s so ubiquitous and considered fundamental to art. Yet actually, graphite is a very particular material with its own distinct properties. The scans don’t capture the incredible, shiny, dense, silvery greyness of the 9B pencil but when I’m applying it so thickly, its status as a mineral becomes quite apparent. I’ve also been playing around in the studio with graphite powder on gessoed panels but it makes a much softer and more fragile mark than pencils, which contain clay and binder for strength and ease of use. I’ve been wondering what it would be like to densely coat an object with pencil marks or layered graphite? The idea of making sculptures that leave ‘drawings’ on their surroundings is very appealing to me.

Oh, and if you want to know how those ‘simple’ and ubiquitous pencils are made, then check out this series of videos from Derwent. It’s a surprisingly complex process but certainly a lot quicker and easier than the way it used to be done!

I am an artist & purveyor of obsessive projects based in Hebden Bridge, England. My work involves the accretion of large numbers of small objects - pins in fabric, knots in string or hundreds of envelopes - to make sculptures that deal with fragility, loss, repetition, obsession and time.

23 thoughts on “Little Drawings

  1. These are beautiful and make me want to drop the knitting I’m working on (my first sock!) and run to my sketchbook.

    Two things come to mind.
    Graphite powder ink. Just mix graphite with water.
    Surfaces that are interesting to work on, the inside of an egg, just peel the membrane off before it dries.

    [Reply]

  2. These are beautiful and make me want to drop the knitting I’m working on (my first sock!) and run to my sketchbook.

    Two things come to mind.
    Graphite powder ink. Just mix graphite with water.
    Surfaces that are interesting to work on, the inside of an egg, just peel the membrane off before it dries.

    [Reply]

  3. these are lovely – such beautiful, suggestive textures.

    I was at the Derwent pencil museum over the summer and really enjoyed it. But I wouldn’t have fancied extracting graphite from those Cumberland fells in the 1800s . . .

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  4. these are lovely – such beautiful, suggestive textures.

    I was at the Derwent pencil museum over the summer and really enjoyed it. But I wouldn’t have fancied extracting graphite from those Cumberland fells in the 1800s . . .

    [Reply]

  5. I like your combination of graphite on gessoed surfaces. Your pieces area wonderful. I’ve painted on wet gesso before (sometimes mixed with glass bead or naptheline gels) , and this gives me an idea–why not use graphite on wet gesso. Maybe I can paint an entire start of a piece with just sprinkling the graphie powder on the wet surface. I’ll post results in my blog in a couple days.

    Thanks for a great blog.
    Merle
    merleplaggeart.com/blog

    [Reply]

  6. I like your combination of graphite on gessoed surfaces. Your pieces area wonderful. I’ve painted on wet gesso before (sometimes mixed with glass bead or naptheline gels) , and this gives me an idea–why not use graphite on wet gesso. Maybe I can paint an entire start of a piece with just sprinkling the graphie powder on the wet surface. I’ll post results in my blog in a couple days.

    Thanks for a great blog.
    Merle
    merleplaggeart.com/blog

    [Reply]

  7. Nice to see a sequence of your drawings, Kirsty – I really like the object quality of them, emphasizing the importance of the torn edges of the paper to the whole.

    Coincidentally, & also on the subject of the physicality of drawings, I recently commented, in relation to one of my own blog-posted drawings, on the failure of the scanning process to capture anything of the rich surface sheen resulting from the application of intense mark-making with a soft graphite pencil (& the formal dialogue this creates with less-worked, partially-erased or ‘blank’ areas).

    [Reply]

  8. Nice to see a sequence of your drawings, Kirsty – I really like the object quality of them, emphasizing the importance of the torn edges of the paper to the whole.

    Coincidentally, & also on the subject of the physicality of drawings, I recently commented, in relation to one of my own blog-posted drawings, on the failure of the scanning process to capture anything of the rich surface sheen resulting from the application of intense mark-making with a soft graphite pencil (& the formal dialogue this creates with less-worked, partially-erased or ‘blank’ areas).

    [Reply]

  9. @Erin. Thanks Erin, I’m sticking to paper just now because I seem to need the restriction but it would be interesting to try graphite on different surfaces, it’s such a fascinating material.

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  10. @Erin. Thanks Erin, I’m sticking to paper just now because I seem to need the restriction but it would be interesting to try graphite on different surfaces, it’s such a fascinating material.

    [Reply]

  11. @ Kate

    Thanks Kate, I’m very into textures at the moment – I think it partly comes from my interest in textiles. I’ve not visited the Derwent Museum but I did my Foundation up in Carlisle, so I’m well aware of how cold and forbidding the Cumberland Fells can be, even now.

    [Reply]

  12. @ Kate

    Thanks Kate, I’m very into textures at the moment – I think it partly comes from my interest in textiles. I’ve not visited the Derwent Museum but I did my Foundation up in Carlisle, so I’m well aware of how cold and forbidding the Cumberland Fells can be, even now.

    [Reply]

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