Thursday, April 27, 2017

SKETCH OPEN PRIZE 2017 - selected!

I'm delighted to announce that my sketch book entry for the international Sketch Open Drawing Prize 2017, has been selected for the show. The Sketch Open 2017 will be hosting 100 hundred sketch books chosen from over 500 entries, and will travel to three locations around Britain until December 2017. 
The show opens on 21st May at the Rabley Drawing Centre.

The two previous exhibitions of this show were so popular with visitors and artists alike that the originators handed over the organising to Parker Harris, who are well known for running the prestigious Lynn Painter Stainer Prize and the Jerwood Drawing Prize. 

This year's Show will offer sketch books by many diverse artists working with a vast range of philosophies and media, whose interpretation of the sketchbook, and of drawing itself, is as contrasting as it is varied and includes an intriguing Italian travel sketch book by Anne Desmet RA. 

As a passionate young artist, very keen on sketch book drawing in the field, I longed to see Turner's Colour Beginnings and Pencil Studies. Eventually - in 1987 soon after the opening of the Study Room in the Clore Gallery at Tate Britain - I was granted permission to view and research Turner's sketch books

This study room was then a well kept secret, an empty place, occupied only by the occasional academic and the faithful army of Turner archivists. At the time, visiting this room was considered a very old fashioned and eccentric thing for a contemporary artist to do in the age of Conceptualism

And now, as drawing has at last taken centre stage and Turner is everywhere recognised as a timeless national treasure, the Study Room at the Clore Gallery has become the Prints and Drawings Room for the whole of Tate Britain, housing not only Turner's sketches but also contemporary works on paper by international artists.

It's been a while since I have entered a work for an open exhibition. I was selected for the Sunday Times Watercolour Exhibition in 1995, and have always worked privately and quietly on the drawing work since then. 

I'm so delighted to be participating and honouring the art of the sketchbook in this show simply because I believe in the sketch book and all that it means to artists everywhere. 
Thus we are celebrating this infinitely renewable medium of the sketch book.

A travel sketch book in particular is a very distinct statement. One needs verve and a powerful intent to walk out of the studio alone and to draw and paint in an isolated place, or the streets of a crowded city. 
This very act is itself worthy of acknowledgement, as are the many varied working methods of all the Sketch exhibitors who have invited the outer world to view their inner world via their working process.

Here is a glimpse of my selected sketchbook entitled Iceland - Light into Dark  and more to come when the show opens.

   Beneath the waterfall - Seljalandsfoss SE Iceland 
   32 x 42 cms
   watercolour, chalk, and graphite on paper

arrived at the Private View of the SKETCH 17 show to find the gallery crowded, and yet the space was filled with a silence and an atmosphere of heightened concentration. It was really the strangest and most exciting private view that I had encountered for many a year. 

The sketch books were being observed with the greatest of respect by those present, all wearing archival gloves and looking intently upon the many books. 

The Rabley Drawing Centre has an air of isolation that is totally conducive to the work they exhibit - an extraordinary place in the midst of beautiful Wiltshire countryside which has been deservedly very successful. 

Each book on show holds a unique and diverse approach to drawing that is inspiring and thought provoking. Here are some pictures from the show:

Rapt in concentration - a view of some of the attendees of the SKETCH 17 private view

A glimpse of some of the books on show

All books exhibited are numbered on the cover 
Those who the visit in person can find my book with the number 29
The above double page show a study of basalt rock (left) from the waterfalls at Hjalpafoss in the Hekla lava plane in SE Iceland.