Friday, 6 July 2007

About drawing paper. (part 4)

Pages 16 and 17 of The Black Diamond Detective Agency were painted on a most unusual choice of paper. I didn't so much choose it as find it lying about. I have no idea where it came from. It was probably a backing card for some household object. It was standing against the wall outside the back door on its way to the garbage can when I spotted it. That'll be the very fellow for me, I thought to myself. It's a coarse brown sheet of paper with a horrible texture. Exactly what I needed to help express the anguish and horror of the aftermath of the train sabotage at Lebanon Missouri that fateful day. It was big enough for me to cut two pages from it. You can see it exerting its hot acrid influence at left on the whole page. Using a base like this means you don't need to do a lot of overpainting, letting the peculiar texture be seen to advantage. I put a swathe of blue smoke in the final panel just to be contrary, just to let the paper know it wasn't the master. In this scan from the original art you can see the raw paper at top left outside my pencilled page border which hopefully doesn't show in the printed book.

I scanned a small area of the back of the original art at 400% enlargement and curved it in photoshop to give enough contrast so that you can see the texture. So it looks a little brighter and more yellow than the original, but you can see all the pulpy natural crap embedded in the paper.

It's an adventure this art game.
Dammit, George Melly died.
Loud check zoot suits, jaunty fedoras and ties that almost glowed in the dark of smokey jazz clubs were all the brash trademarks of Good Time George. He hankered after a bygone age of gangsters’ molls, speakeasies and bootleg liquor in a camp, infectiously entertaining way that endeared him to audiences for 40 years.

Away from showbusiness and writing, his main recreation was fly fishing and he owned a mile stretch of the River Usk in Wales beside his picturesque holiday home at Scethrog, Brecon, Gwent. He paid £47,000 for it in 1985 but had to sell three of his surrealist masterpieces – a Magritte, a Klee and an Ernst – as auction bidding mounted.

and in other news:
HONG KONG (Reuters) - A Hong Kong woman who blinded her boyfriend in one eye in a fight six years ago has been jailed for jabbing a chopstick into his other eye, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was always good seeing George Melly championing the Surrealists on TV, even if it often did seem he was the default choice of enthusiast for lazy producers.

I've got a great recording of him reciting the "Ursonate", a piece of Dadaist sound poetry by Kurt Schwitters. His version is entitled "Sounds that saved my life" after the time he was leaving a Manchester club late one night and was challenged by a group of ruffians. Rather than try and run or fight, he stood his ground and loudly declaimed Kurt's words, causing the ruffians to slink away.

You can hear Kurt's recital here:

George's version is more impressive since his voice is deeper. Oh, and you can also hear a sample of the Kurt version on "Kurt's Rejoinder" by Brian Eno from his Before and After Science album.

Never let it be said you don't learn anything here!

I've used coloured paper for drawing now and then, usually using coloured pencils rather than paints. Those coloured pencils that are blendable are very good for that kind of surface.

6 July 2007 at 05:33:00 GMT-5  
Blogger James Robert Smith said...

That's a brilliant move...the effort of a true artist. I love that kind of story and execution.

One thing I'm curious about though:

since the stuff is probably very low-grade and highly acidic's it holding up? Has it begun to deteriorate or crumble or become brittle?

6 July 2007 at 16:43:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

Ah, the fear of paper decomposing. I don't think there's any paper that, if well looked after, wouldn't outlive you and me. In my parents attic there are still piles of drawings and paintings i made on newsprint when i was very small.
Anyway, permanece is a greatly overrated concept.

6 July 2007 at 17:10:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i don't think i recall when you said what kid of paints you're using on the coloured papers? acrylic? some kind of opaque watercolours? oil?

6 July 2007 at 17:27:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

watercolour and goucahe. I was talking about stretching the paper, which is a process for watercolour, so I may have forgotten to mention it specifically.

6 July 2007 at 17:30:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Shawn said...

I was going to comment on paper deteriorating but you seem to have answered that already. Well, it would be a shame if your art disintegrated due to acid in papers etc. Preservation for posterity and history aside, I'm sure collectors who spend mucho money would be horried as well. However, it all depends on how you want your legacy preserved (you obviously have soft copy scans, photographs) and that might be enough.

8 July 2007 at 19:42:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

the thing about Melly is that his skill really was in being Melly. I don't think any of the disciplines in which he dabbled could not proceed without him, but we did feel that moment when the total wattage of the universe dimmed a little.

(wish i had enough mellyness to wear one or two of those zoot suits )

9 July 2007 at 21:46:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Melly giving the thugs a good Schwittering here:

14 December 2007 at 19:26:00 GMT-5  

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