Entering into dangerous territory (and starting to draw).

Posted on February 17, 2016

Since January I have been working my final artwork. This will be a folded map-style drawing using photographs of images taken during WW1 in St Margaret’s and the surrounding area.

It took me a long while to find a safe method to join the paper to the backing muslin without damaging it. This delayed the drawing part, which arguably is more important task. With this problem finally resolved I am now at a stage where I am composing the work, deciding what to edit out and what is important to keep in.

I want to avoid photo realism overkill, neatness and logic. The must be darkness and sadness. The main objects will be the faces of those that lived in the village during the war, but between these other WW1 images will float and collide. I want the drawing to take those fragments of history and lace them together thoughtfully. This a high risk work. I don’t want to produce something which tries to romanticize, decontaminate, or beautify war.

I hope I manage this balancing act.

blank map


Here is the blank paper, hanging for the first time from the muslin backing.


This was a smaller text drawing, to see how to stick the muslin. I tried using white glue, this made the paper curl.

I tried drawing over the joints, this is not difficult, but the question is where to place the image, so that the cracks don’t interfere too much. I don’t want each image to be central to the section, or the overall work with become too symmetrical, and regimented.

In progress 1

Here you can see my progression to working in watercolours. I find lead pencil can be difficult to get the depth of contrast I am after. The danger is, you can’t rub out watercolour, so I need to be careful making marks. I want to add small amounts of colour too, which this method allows. It will probably end up being a mixture of techniques.