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'Holding their hands'

Updated: Dec 10, 2019

I decided to take a phenomenological approach to drawing my maternal experience and in trying to locate a minute where I could draw us being together, I found the period just before bedtime was the best for capturing those moments of stillness. I put my children to bed alone, one at a time as this gives us one to one time together so this was a unique opportunity to draw 'being two' together. The initial drawings were made in pencil and each one is different in shape and form capturing a unique and individual moment in time when we as mother and child are together. I used a technique of 'blind' drawing where I would hold the child's hand with my left hand and make the drawing with my right whilst keeping my eyes closed, I attended to the transmission of touch in the drawing, feeling the shape of our hands through sensation and pressure as opposed to imagining what our hands looked like. In essence I wanted to know if the drawing could capture what it felt like to be a mother at bedtime holding her child's hand. The interesting outcome is the differentiation within each drawing as it documents each separate occasion...

The drawings take about 20-30 seconds and capture the mood and feeling of that moment whether it be defined by anger, frustration or relaxation and love. The shapes and forms of the drawings are defined by the composition and angle of the fingers are they are held by the hand, the pressure of the squeeze, grip or cradling of the hand (by either of us), the temperature, the movement or stillness and the context of the situation that defines those 20-30 seconds.

I decided to take this further by selecting a hand made banana paper to work on that has a translucent flesh-like quality allowing the drawings to overlap. I used coloured brush pens which are a popular medium used in children's art. The colours are not symbolic of each of us as in previous drawings but instead allow for a painterly approach to the project where colours are chosen in relation to the previous drawings as they build up. It is my intention to collect hundreds of these over a period of time and then decide how they should exist: are they a collection of drawings, a single painting, a sculpture, a book or an archive/installation?

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