Tag Archives: ink

The Art of Trust

I recently attended the ChangeBoard Future Talent conference. This was my third or fourth year at the event – and for what it’s worth, I found it the most interesting and enjoyable one so far. A really interesting, artful day – I’ll cover the event content in a little more detail on the Stop Doing Dumb Things blog soon.

The central theme for the day was ‘How we can evolve as individuals and organisations to meet the challenges of the future workplace?’ The word trust hung heavy in the air beforehand, and as part of my preparation for the event I asked people the question, ‘When you see and hear the word ‘trust’, what images come to mind, please?’

The answers were plentiful and varied. Several folk commented on trapeze artists, mountaineers and the like. I drew something similar to represent trust for a client back in 2016, though now I look again – you could just as easily title this piece ‘foolish’, depending on your point of view!Trusting

A particular idea which caught my imagination was the connection between trust and risk, and of the need to give trust.

Tim Casswell wrote: ‘Trust and risk are interrelated. Trust is the most efficient form of human relationship. Trust is something you dare. Something you choose. It changes everything about the way you relate to someone else. It tends to be transformative. People who are trusted find it very hard to break that trust. We are taught to fear and we learn to fear. So most relationships are based on fear and caution. “Trust is a pure transparent sea too deep to fathom cautiously” Trust isn’t something earned. It is something given. One of the most wonderful affirmations in the world. Once upon a time it was how we all lived. Trust is a revolutionary act. And as for images? Some words are worth a thousand images. Maybe trapeze artists?’

Usha Chadha responded:I relate to this strongly Tim. You give trust to strangers as much as you do to people close to you. Every time I buckle up on a jet plane my life is entrusted in a complete stranger to get me to my destination safely, but I trust in the system that the pilot will have been through training and passed his/her qualifications. We all have to blindly trust and depend upon societal elements to function, and when there’s a problem we get frustrated (or die if in a plane!!!), because our trust & faith in them gets broken. So the image of being blind-folded is one I see when we talk of trust.’

Usha was not the only person to offer the idea of being blind-folded, and I found this really struck a chord, and stuck with me. I made several sketches – and as you can see, I struggled to illustrate the idea of being blind-folded as a positive/trusting thing!

Sitting in the auditorium on the day, the following sketch emerged. It signifies trust as a symbol, in this case I was thinking of my own wedding ring.

IMG_4081

Part of what interests me about this trust work, is how people respond to an invitation to think in pictures. I never cease to be impressed with the diversity and richness of responses people kindly offer to seemingly simple requests. More to follow, soon…

Egyptian Goose

Recently I’ve begun tuning the free art project to more closely reflect what is going on around me, both locally and seasonally. I had a couple of failed attempts drawing some blossom related pictures this week, and with time running out, I started to panic a little. What to draw? Then I remembered – there is a family of Egyptian Geese in Beddington Park, two adults and four young.

This small group of birds has attracted a good deal of attention among people in the community, with regular photos appearing on Facebook. I’m not very good at drawing – it’s something I need to practice much more, so as part of that practice, and in a departure from my usual style of work – this week I’ve drawn an Egyptian Goose.

IMG_4041.jpg

I started using a very muted palette of pencils, and the drawing was just too feint. I’ve worked in some ink (fineliners) and some heavier pencil work. Is it any good? I’m not sure. It was a challenge, that I do know, and that’s part of what this project is about, the challenge.

Passing Strangers : Revisited

A few months ago I painted a small sketch titled Passing Strangers. The picture was intended to represent the fleeting, impermanent nature of the many relationships we experience as we pass by each other. Maybe there is eye contact, maybe a smile and a greeting, maybe just the tiny, shared disturbance of atmosphere.

Since first painting Passing Strangers, I’ve thought more and more about transition and impermanence and as I’ve continued to think, I have made more versions of this work.

Passing Strangers II : I made this and left it in my local town. It has since disappeared. Maybe it has a new home, maybe it ended up in the bin? I don’t know, and it has transitioned.

Week 7.jpg

Passing Strangers III, IV, V, and VI : I made these using pages from an old book, a marker pen and some chalk paints. The book pages have some fragility about them and the chalk paints are easily smudged. There is impermanence in these works. Number 3 is sold and now resides somewhere in the UK, numbers 4, 5, and 6 have also been sold and are together in the USA.

IMG_8992.jpg

Passing Strangers VII, VIII, IX, and X : These four pieces are made using acrylic paint, pencil, ink, and gold leaf. Numbers 7 and 8 were left in my local town, numbers 9 and 10 are currently available to buy in my Etsy shop.

More to follow?

Passing Strangers

I recently ran a creative workshop titled ‘The Art of Wellbeing’ at the Wellcome Collection in London. It was an interesting experiment, made even more so by the fact that the event is promoted only on the day, and whoever turns up, turns up. So there we were, around 20 strangers, gathered together for a creative inquiry. I’ve made some notes and taken some pictures of our work which you can find by clicking on this lovely sketch of the workshop, made by a participant.

Workshop Sketch

After the session – I kept thinking about the idea of passing strangers, and how we had come together, talked and shared openly. I made a few sketches before settling on this one. To me, the image represents an exchange between persons unknown, to us, and to each other.

IMG_8275

This piece of art is sold.

Bookcases

A few days ago I shared a sketch I made during a drawing workshop. The sketch was of a bookcase and was drawn ‘blind’, which is to say that I only looked at the subject while drawing, not at the paper. The drawing was completed using a single line, and as luck would have it – the finished work fits nicely into a postcard sized mount.

Blind Drawing Bookcase

I enjoyed drawing this and wanted to play with the shape some more, so I traced the outline onto some card using ink this time instead of pencil. Next I added some watercolour and more ink to the picture before mounting it.

Traced Bookcase

Here they are side by side.

Pair of Bookcases

Update : This artwork is now sold.

The Chinese Art of Listening

I’m in the middle of preparing some illustrations for a client, one of which needs to represent good service. I got stuck for ideas, so I asked Twitter for some visual cues to help describe what good service looks like. Among the replies, Meg Peppin suggested that because good service comes from paying attention, I should explore the Chinese symbols for listening. My curiosity aroused, off I went – and here is my attempt at representing what I found.

The Chinese Art of Listening

Ears are represented in the top left, eyes in the top right. In the bottom right we have the heart, separated from eyes by a line representing focus, and in the bottom left we have the mind. Together they stand for wholehearted listening, paying full attention. I struggled making this with acrylic paint and a stuff brush so I had another go with a bottle of black ink.

The Chinese Art of Listening

The shapes flowed better this time though I was still using the same stiff brush. Lastly, I returned to some acrylic paint and had a go at abstracting the characters representing focus and heart. This time I made a thick mix of paint and tried to create some depth in the shapes I painted. You may be able to see this effect better in the close up picture.

Focus and Heart

Focus and Heart - Close Up