Erasure drawings

Erased black square 1 - drawing by David Smith

Erased black square 1
Pencil and eraser on Canaletto paper

It may seem odd that my work on black squares and my Tidelines theme are intimately linked but it is all a continuum. This latest phase – erasing and redrawing and erasing again for as many times as necessary to get the effect I want – mirrors the tide’s twice-daily erasing of the sand patterns and debris on the beach; rubbed out but leaving a trace of the history of previous times and tides. I am experimenting with various surfaces. These featured are on 300gsm Canaletto paper. It is thick enough not to buckle and stretch too much and robust enough to take repeated erasure yet still soft enough to hold the indentation of an HB pencil.

Deatial of paper surface

Detail of surface after repeated erasing and redrawing

I have chosen to use traditional pencils rather than a clutch pencil because it allows a greater degree of chaos to enter the mix. The sharpness wearing to bluntness and my reaction to it in the marks I make, plus the length of the pencil affecting my grip on it as it gets shorter, are important elements in the content of the works.

Drawing by David Smith

Erased black square 2

The piece I began today (detail below) is on a full sheet of Canaletto paper 500mm x 700mm on which I have created a semi-accurate ruled grid. I am using what I believe to be HB pencils that were liberated from conference rooms at various hotels 20 years ago – knew they would come in handy! I may have to buy some more as they are disappearing at an alarming rate. In future drawings I may use harder pencils depending on what the surface of chosen paper suggests. For the first layer I am trying to be pretty loose and not get into my usual rythmns and shapes. I am listening to Soft Machine and at times using my left hand. Once this “ground” has been established, with the general shape and form of the piece tentatively mapped in, I will be more controlled about the marks I make after each successive erasure.

Start of a graphite erasure drawing by David Smith

First layer of marks (detail) on an as yet untitled erasure drawing

2 thoughts on “Erasure drawings

  1. Sue Gough

    I’ve been aware of your work for some time via Paul’s links. I too make drawings involving mark making, covering up or erasing until I’m satisfied with the surface created. I carry this through to my painting.
    Your work is very interesting and beautiful; it has a real presence, thanks for posting!

    1. David Smith Post author

      Thank you for your kind comments, Sue. I am aware of your stuff, too, from the small number of pieces you have posted on Twitter – you shoukd post some more there for us all to see.


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