#tendaychallenge - 10. The First Drawing I Made


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This image of St. Mary's Church in Broadwater (Worthing), was made when I was nine or ten years old. I regard it now as my 'first' drawing, because it is entirely unique in the sense that I had no particular interest in making pictures as a child, and had not made anything of this kind before. The second drawing would not follow until around 12 years later! I remember that a small group of pupils were gathered, and walked the five minutes to the church, where we were given free reign to draw however we wanted. The picture was well regarded by the teacher, and the school chose to present it to the Deputy Head when he left his post.

Despite this small success I still did not have any interest in drawing at this point. Over a decade later when I was studying Fine Art at university I happened upon drawing after making a couple of hasty sketches, and including them in a video work. I remember thinking they were insignificant, throwaway, of no real merit. It was only after gentle encouragement in the form of suggestions from my tutors Andreas Rüthi, and Kieran Lyons, who both saw something in those scratchy images, a certain quality I could not recognise for myself, potential for exploring and developing. I continued to make various images, none of which seemed particularly interesting to me, until one day I happened to draw a 'landscape'.

When I look at this picture of the church I am struck by the relationship it has to the drawing practice that emerged years later, to my surprise, and which I continue to this date. The black ink, detailed mark-making, letting the white of the paper show prominently. In addition to the formal qualities, there is the theme of the picture - the 'house of God', a place of worship, the outer walls of which are formed of local flint, which occurs in the chalk Downs, and is for me an embodiment of the Divine itself. This all has a very strong resonance with the subject matter of my work today.

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