Throughout his prolific career, Picasso claimed that, “…colour weakens.” He purged it from his work in order to highlight the formal structure and autonomy of form inherent in his art. Black and white drawings and paintings allow the observer to concentrate on elements such as composition, value, lighting and form. The benefit of black and white is that you can focus on the image as a whole.
However, as a child, it wasn’t Picasso that paved my creative grisaille inspired path. Unbeknownst to him, this honour belongs to my Grandfather. I recall memories of a monolithic wooden ‘Rediffusion’ TV box cluttered with dusty Royal Doulton figurines atop; resolute, motionless and unmoved in the corner of the lounge. The irritation of jogging from mock leather orange settee to the white wall box channel switch. The perceived luxury of a three channel option unlocked the deranged world of the kaleidoscopic colourful chaos of the Banana Splits. To alternative calamitous classic black and white galaxy of stars such as Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin or Harold Lloyd. Emotive memories of my often too serious grandfather, rendered into a nostalgic helpless chuckling heap won the day.
As a result, I am a ‘Grisaille’ (a method of painting in grey monochrome) inspired artist. I am a true advocate for the importance of ‘good drawing’. Drawing is a wonderful way of engaging with the peculiarity and beauty of the visible world; whether working on a portrait, figure, still life or landscape, there is a joy in unpicking the perceptual experience. A systematic process of intense looking and working through, finding precision through searching and adjustment. The joy of mark making and placement to describe an encounter distilled through eye, mind and feeling.
I work predominantly in pencil and graphite, although I do paint regularly in acrylic and oils. I also enjoy experimenting in other mediums, charcoal, brush pen, pen and ink, chalk, collage and mono print. For over three decades, photography has played an integral part in my creative practice. However, I am not afraid to work from memory, sketches, photographs or a combination of all three. Photographs can be very useful for maintaining some physical accuracy when working on the human form away from the subject or experience of being there.
I naturally gravitate to ordinary people or wildlife finding themselves in extraordinary circumstances or vice versa. Much of my pleasure is in the process. In a world where colour reigns supreme, simplifying the artwork by restricting the colour scheme to a classic black and white palette gives the observer’s eye a place to rest and breaks from saturated colour.
A custom handmade piece created for you will break from saturated colour and enhance your home from all other elements. You may argue that colour is everything but I say black and white is more!