Over the weekend I spent some time looking through 'Leonardo Da Vinci' by D M Field. While I can appreciate the beauty of such works as the 'Mona Lisa' and 'The Last Supper', for me, the magic of Leonardo lies in his many masterful sketches.
I have always had a passion for artists sketches, the unfinished workings of the creators mind sprawled across the page, the bones of their thoughts caught on paper and paused at a moment that leaves the viewer wishing for more. An unfinished piece captures my attention and tugs at my heart in a way a finished piece never could, leaving me momentarily disappointed with each of my own works as I lay the final stroke upon the surface even now.
Finished says complete, done, over...closed! A sketch says, 'here's my thinking, the x-ray of my creative self...my soul! Sketches make time stand still, allowing the viewer to always feel an idea is in creation…happening… NOW!
Engulfed in the many pages filled with red, white and black chalk, silverpoint, gouache, lines, markings, motion, skill, expression ...my eyes rested upon the Virgin and St Anne sketch and the quote “Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art” - by Leonardo himself, stuck firmly in my mind.
From this I drew the inspiration that drove me to create these pieces. The first, an acrylic sketch, was based upon the sketch of St Anne, and used as a loosening up exercise. To break the fear of failure I first slopped and flicked watered acrylic all over the surface - You can't mess up a mess, right?
The aim was not one of anatomical perfection but to unlock my passion, unleash my creativity and open the doors to my 'soul'.
The second, a charcoal and chalk study was created on the ’idea’ of St Anne. This time Leonardo’s words, "No one should ever imitate the style of another because he will be called a nephew and not a child of nature with regard to art." drove me as I considered how he himself would have had to create St Anne, there being no real historical evidence that she even existed let alone photographic or written descriptions. Many artists have created St Anne over the years, each portraying her as a young figure, similar in age to her Daughter.
My aim was to create my own St Anne, full of character, warmth and love.
My aim here was to create a likeness to Leonardo's work and expression...a Nephew mimicking the skills of his Uncle!