, wax candle
“Sea Shell” ~ Ed Buziak (1962)
This is a typical example of an exercise given to my group of fresher students – at the Regional College of Art and Design, Manchester – by a wonderfully odd, but patient, spinster tutor known only as Miss Hopwell.
I was one of the 1962 intake at that Northern UK art college and felt a frisson of excitement every day at the shackles of strictly uniformed grammar school years were cast off for a dress code of anything-goes so long as it included blue jeans (and for me, collarless blue or white ex-army officer’s cotton shirts worn outside with an ethnic sash tied at the waist). We were given freedom for the first time in our lives (although I was one of the few who still lived at home) and we all took the bait and included “free love” in the equation!
However, and back to the artwork, I clearly remember this exercise even though it was done all of fifty years ago. The group had a choice of several objects, large and small, with the medium of expression being left to our own imagination and skills. I cannot remember the time we were given – it was meant to be basically a quick exercise – and although I now like to think it was a 10-minute bash, in reality it was probably a 30-minute period more in line with the limits given to contestants on the “Top Chef” programmes so popular on French TV.
I chose a small sea shell as my subject with a bottle of black ink, a pen-nib, stick from a shrub in the garden, a wax candle and a small/medium watercolor paint brush, on dampened cartridge paper. Dampening our drawing-paper sheets was a normal procedure – using brown gummed tape all around the edges so it stayed “stretched” and flat on drying – but on this occasion I drew rapidly with a pen-nib and included a few sweeps of a wax-candle to act as a “resist” to the later ink-wash… then filed-in the solid areas whilst the paper was still quite damp, allowing the ink to merge and spread within the paper’s surface. My intention (now forgotten) at the time was probably to re-create a “wet-look” for the watery subject… and the dribbly blurs do seem to represent delicate fronds of sea-weed or other organic frond-life growing from the shell’s surface.
Image © 1962 Ed Buziak
, action painting
, Alan Davie
, Bernard Cohen
, Jackson Pollock
, Rembrandt pastels
“Crowd Scene #1” ~ Ed Buziak (2012)
This image is close to the final stage of my first piece of artwork for 2012. I’ve been working on it for a couple of weeks and this view reflects how I’ve been destroying the original patches of color and crayon strokes. The work is being done with Talens “Rembrandt” soft pastels on Arches Platine paper and measures 30 x 22 inches (77 x 56 cms)… if anyone is perhaps thinking of it for their wall!
- I have long admired the dynamic use of color in the works of Scottish artist Alan Davie (I bought one of his lithographs “Celtic Dreamboat II” in the early ’70s which I still have); and that of Bernard Cohen whose work I also bought a small example of again in the ’70s but which was unfortunately destroyed by a careless UK removals firm when we came to France a decade ago. Bernard Cohen’s involved use of complex line being almost hypnotically absorbing and sometimes, despite my implied effect, being soothing as one may feel when exploring a maze with time on your hands but no fear of getting lost in the dark.
And then there is Jackson Pollock whose paintings defined a new Abstract Expressionist movement in American modern art in the 1940/50s. As his work has sold for as much as $140,000,000 – to a Mexican tycoon – the only chance of his work in my hands is a book or exhibition catalog! Pollock’s technique of pouring and dripping paint is thought to be one of the origins of the term “action painting” and with this technique, Pollock was able to achieve a more immediate means of creating art, the paint literally flowing from his chosen tools and containers onto the canvas which he walked and danced across at times.
The impression I am trying to communicate is one of a very crowded thoroughfare, seen from above, with an uncountable number of people coming and going about their business but with a sense of chaos. It is an imaginative scene I dread being caught up in, in reality… having not visited a city of any real size for more than 25 years… and on that occasion when I got near the center, I turned around and retreated to my distant, but calm, village abode.
**I will update this page when I have decided the piece is finished… and has been signed.
** This is now for sale on Saatchi Online for $900… http://www.saatchionline.com/art/Drawing-Pastel-Crowd-Scene-1-2012/395193/1474067/view
Image © 2012 Ed Buziak