Friday, April 13, 2007

Blot drawing, paper chickens, surprise flowering

The English artist, Alexander Cozens (1717-86) had the idea, which is nowadays quite commonplace as an exercise for art students - to make a picture from a blot of ink, and to draw shapes over and around it. These, he found, can produce accidental forms and fresh and original images, particularly of landscapes. He wrote a book on his idea called A New Method if Assisting the Invention in Drawing Original Compositions of Landscape. I knew nothing of Cozens until today when I read an article by Tom Lubbock in the Independent. The article describes just one picture by Cozens, not a landscape, but two tigers, which have been drawn from and out of a couple of fairly shapeless "blots". The picture is in Tate Britain. This sort of thing has always appealed to me. I like making drawings based on the sepia stains left by mugs of tea, and sometimes deliberately leave a mug on a sheet of paper with a drawing or doodle in mind.. But there has to be an element of chance in the exercise.

In the fashion shop called Jigsaw in Mount Pleasant, there is a window display of chickens made from wire and covered in sheets of newspaper moulded round the wire frames. The chickens are placed on an around packs of newspapers intended for recycling with the string still round them. If you look closely you can read the text.

Last year I bought at the WI Market a plant called Epimedium because I liked its variegated red and green leaves. This Spring it has spread and surprised me with pretty, pale yellow, four petalled flowers, on branched inflorescences, in surprising profusion. It has clearly found a habitat which it likes.

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