Updated: Apr 23
For a few years now I've been working on two series of drawings as my main area of interest. The Birds and Plants series in ink and watercolour pencil, and a series of black and white drawings that incorporate images of birds, plants, self portraits and just portraits of people I know.
The former are made with nib pen and black acrylic ink then coloured in with watercolour pencil on matte mylar.Expanses of white space play with the perception of depth and space while the graphic quality of the line suggests flattened illustration.
The latter are drawn with nib pen and ink, or with artist pens. They sometimes incorporate the human as part of nature and form an unruly pattern in black and white. These need to be looked at closely to see the imagery that is there.
"Birds are the last best connection to a world that is otherwise receding” Jonathan Franzen.
I spend a lot of time outdoors. I observe the toughness and the delicacy of birds and plants. Drawing them expresses my feeling of connection to nature. Nature that I see under threat. I see what is happening to the plants and to the birds because of spraying, deforestation, development and the cultivation of plants.
Now you can see locally any flower or other plant from almost anywhere on earth. Like the birds they migrate but in the hands of humans in the Anthropocene. They are often cultivated to within an inch of what they once were, losing their smell, gaining colours that never were. Nurtured by profit.
In the drawings there is an unnatural juxtaposition of the animals and the flowers that are not likely to be seen all in one place nor at one time. The human hand, mine, bringing them together.
The flowers are drawn from life, from photos I've taken myself, and sometimes from social media. In the winter there are no flowers growing, nobody is posting flowers and I turn to idealized drawings of flowers in botanical books. Many of these flowers no longer exist, lost to us like so many birds.
I draw the plants and flowers that call out to me, I choose them for their line, colour and how they work as drawings with the birds. There will be something in the droop of the plant, the spring of the stem, the attitude of the flower that feels exactly right.
The birds are always birds that I know, that inhabit my world, drawn from photographs.