Thursday, 16 February 2012

Of Mermaids and Mackerel, Trout and Tutors...

I've just come across these sketches, in watercolour and metallic felt tips, that were done towards the 1st project (good old 'Change') in my foundation year. My idea was Change in the sense of Metamorphosis but it did not go down well with my tutors ... as mermaids 'aren't real'; fair enough maybe, as clearly there would be no chance of observational drawing. 

This early 'rejection' left me feeling really quite dejected and disheartened, and questioning my ideas and also skills ... as I had in fact done quite a bit of work on fish - their colours, their markings, their luminosity, their fleshiness ... resulting in the paintings of trout and mackerel below. So one of the mermaids is really quite 'trouty' and another a 'mackerel mermaid'.

It is good to have come across all these watercolour pieces again - maybe a tendency towards illustration was already making itself felt, and I can now look at the mermaids without feeling they are a bit naff.

ps. In the end I changed tack completely on the 'Change' brief -  I became aware of what I was actually looking at while dejectedly mulling it over early one morning: the changing light, and also condensation, on the bedroom window as the day dawned; this became my subject matter.


  1. I can't believe your tutors criticised you on such ridiculous grounds, it's awful how thoughtless words can badly knock the confidence in this way - they were so wrong and that criticism bewilders me! It's such a stupid reason to complain - why does "metamorphosis" have to be "real" ? Their brief if they were so fussy about realism/reality/real things should have made that clear, it obviously didn't! I love these pictures and yes the illustration style is really coming through - and some "arty" sorts are snobby about that aren't they....grrr maybe that was their issue too. (one I also disagree with obviously)! I think these pictures are delightful and de-lovely and very valid, show great skill a keen eye for colour balance, and a deft hand for texture, subtlety, pattern and detail. They would look brilliant as illustrations for a food/recipe editorial or in a beautiful cookbook, or just in their own right as the lovely artworks they are.

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