This piece is a personal favourite and always been a bit of hoot! Get it? Hoot? …Oh why do I bother.
I could write pages of text covering the origins, inspirations, techniques, frustrations, and successes behind this piece. Yet, even with all the information I can give in hindsight- it was once nearly never finished. After doing as much as I could with the beak and the eyes I had become frustrated with how the rest of it was progressing. Naturally so as I feel confidence is a big part of art. You have to know your materials, how they work, how they mix, how they react, what they can do, what they can’t do, how they do it, and what not to do with them. Faber Castell Polychromos? Never used them before. Bristol board? Only ever used for ink and marker pieces. Everything here was new and there was a certain amount of hesitation. I’d also picked one hell of a reference photo for the first time out- there was nothing simple about this piece.
Still, one of the primary reasons I chose to do this the way that I did is because I wanted the challenge. I wanted to push myself. At the time I’d felt I’d become lazy and complacent with the kind of pieces I was doing and despite having many different materials they were hardly used.
The other major reason was that there are some really incredible pieces of art out there. Oozing with the blood of the artists that made them through their style, or their use of colour, or unique approach to form, or the use of negative space- there are so many reasons- but I had never done a piece like that. I was once told a long time back that I had a very angular style (it’s true) and I notice that’s a part of my style. But the other big thing that I’ve always had about my art is the graphic quality. I’ve never really been one for realistic or smooth shading. It just doesn’t have the same impact as the graphic style which feels sharp, edgy, crisp, clean, and has a lot of uses which is the way I tend to do shading these days.
So this was to be something recognisable yet unique, graphic yet soft, unique enough that it could be recreated but never exactly, and something that I hope would be one of the best pieces I’d done. Or would ever do. Kind of like how some musicians have a long and successful run but they always have those key hits from earlier in their career. If it was unique enough then there would be no way to realistically compare this to other pieces and therefore it would stand, alone, but proudly alone, as the key unique piece I’d done.
I mean, realistically, I could recreate Wisdom- I could make it more realistic or with more accurate colours or even bigger so the composition is looser.
But would I? No. It is what it is and there’s no point in changing that for the sake of finalising or perfecting the last bits here or there. Perfection is as ever-changing as your own motivations and you’re never going to reach that point where you know everything and can do everything. So, Wisdom kind of sits, shifting around time, bringing something fresh to everyone who looks at it but representing a very specific part of my artistic journey.
Finally, Wisdom was featured in the Winsor & Newton Ink Exhibition as one of the pieces entered into the competition. This was a defining moment for me as I felt so proud of myself, but I really appreciated seeing the public and hearing their views while having people coming to see my art and talk to me about it? There’s nothing like it. It’s a really gratifying feeling. Luckily it was in London so I was able to attend personally and was probably one of best moments of my life. Actually there was no probably about it- it was the best moment of my life. Maybe one day something like this will come around again so I best keep my skills sharp and my pencils sharper, huh?
Have a nice night, all!
Art, design, and the like found herein (unless otherwise specified) is drawn and owned by David Wilkshire (also credited as Moggie) from 2006 to present date.