The Old Brass Kettle is a drawing I made on my iPad2 – bought last autumn – using an app called Sketchbook Pro. I wasn’t comfortable drawing with just my fingers, so I bought myself a Bamboo Pen (Wacom). I don’t do much representational drawing these days, but I wanted to familiarise myself with the different ways of making images through Sketchbook Pro. Curiously – and this might be, for me, the application’s most important aspect, is that starting this drawing didn’t trigger my terror of the white page syndrome.
White Page Fright is a malady that plagues many artists, in varying degrees. I think it started during my fine art degree. Looking back, I was no longer drawing just for the pleasure of it. I had to perform. To come up with the goods of greatness. A wrong mindset of course, but that’s wisdom in hindsight.
The kettle turned up in my family in about 1960, fetched home by my brother. At the tender age of 7 he was already the scavenger by nature that was to become his profession late in his relatively short life (he died of Motor Neurone Disease in 1996). He’d rescued the kettle from the harbour at Seaton Sluice at low tide. I remember my mother polishing the kettle and my amazement at its transformation from the dull, black, ugly, buckled thing presented by my brother, into the gleaming, gold-coloured object it became.
The kettle has passed from one hearth to another in my family over the years since my brother dredged it from the harbour. It sits now on mine. I wonder to whose hearth it will pass next?