How To Walk On Shingle

There is an art to the mere act of walking. It takes skill and practice. We learn to walk at such a young age we forget this is so. We forget that a human body is a tall thing, top-heavy and balanced on two little pads, which are tender, sensitive, and apt to send urgent messages of complaint right up to the top of the body if they encounter sharp objects. We forget that gravity pulls, all the time, and does not tire and does not care.

We forget this until we try to walk across a shingle beach, barefoot, and we discover an interminable gulf between self and water, filled with a mere few metres of pointy stones. Mary demonstrates the art of walking on shingle: it is an art more experimental and less refined than the one we learnt when we were two.

About this drawing:

This drawing started life as a series of pencil sketches of Mary, which I then scanned in and re-sized in a drawing programme. I also added a colored background, stripped away the white paper, made each one slightly translucent so that the overlapping drawings can be partially seen. But I wanted to retain the feel of the sketches in the final piece, so that’s all I did in the drawing programme, neither did I tidy up the sketches where the background had been imperfectly stripped away.
I then printed it and continued in pencil. As a final artwork it might be an awkward mix of print and pencil, but it very effectively retains the original sketches. Re-sizing and subsequently re-drawing the sketches would, I think, have lost some of the energy in the picture.
This isn’t all of the sketches and it’s only one of the finished pieces, but it’s the strongest of the two that I did. I shall shortly put up a second post with the sketches and the other piece, and the arrangement I was going to use, and didn’t (or haven’t yet…)

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