Friday, August 6, 2010

Media centre revisited

I stumbled upon another envelope full of drawings from my final months in the media centre at 1 Intelligence Unit, Kimberley, to which I had been assigned after being unceremoniously dumped from their "Civic Action" activities. It was 1981, and my first two years of conscription would end in June.

I've tried to fathom what sort of crayon I used here, but can't. It's not a pastel and it's too hard for charcoal, yet it gives a lovely soft, lithograph-type line. Isn't this a typical pose in an office where people have too much time on their hands, and the old chair is tipped back on its rear legs?

This seems to be a look at the interior of our little office/studio, with tins of enamel paint on a counter. I recall having to paint a huge mural of an armoured vehicle of some sort, possibly a Ratel, on the outside wall of a bungalow to celebrate some or other "operation" in SWA.

This guy's face comes back to me immediately, but I can't recall his name. He arrived about six months after me and earned a stripe while I was there.

A quick sketch of the same guy using that nice soft crayon.

Yet another of my colleagues, complete with moustache, which it was the prerogative only of conscripts who had finished I think their first six months to grow. What a privilege! Of course the fact that everyone had short hair meant you always stood out like a sore thumb in the "outside world".

Probably the same oke at a drawing board.

I don't recall this vertical board. It looks like a scene from drawing class at art school, except Cpl Craig Glenday is in uniform.

I had a bit of fun here, contrasting the aquamarine lines with some bright yellow enamel paint.

Lopped off at the chin, I rather enjoy the unfinished nature of this quick sketch.

I drew with whatever was to hand. Again, briskly drawn, accurately seen lines are, to my mind, the hallmark of a good drawing.

This is the same guy done with fine, sensitive lines.

The fellow from a few pictures up, with the accent on the elongation of the Caucasian nose from this angle.

Mr Terence Keyter, whom I mentioned earlier, earning his stripes.

The beauty of drawing is that it is often a feeling for form on the page. While the face was laid down without redrawing, not so his right shoulder, where several lines seek out the truth.

I rarely signed my work, but in a few instances found I had some fun putting my mark on the drawings. Generally, I find signatures on drawings distracting. My lines are my signature.

Another oke with not much to do except sit back and chat.

This seems to be the first green drawing I've found. Note the list of tasks, in someone else's hand, top left.

Mr Glenday, again, with the two views seeming to merge.

One of the young Durbs ous, earning his pittance.

Another medium, another technique. Felt-tip pens have a different quality which perhaps lacks a bit of subtlety.

Which came first, my little spiel about the role of drawing, or the sketch of someone writing, which I think is quite a good study of hands.

This and succeeding drawings again illustrate how a few lines can capture a pose.

Here there is a strong sculptural quality to that raised shoulder.

Again, just a few lines, but you are instantly aware this is someone bending over a table working.

I don't know how these two crept in, because they seem clearly to have been drawn while standing guard. Often the light was poor in those guard sleeping rooms, hence the darkness of the drawings.

Again, I don't think this was in the media centre. It just shows the huge variety of faces out there.

I suspect this is two quick sketches of our regimental sergeant-major, possibly on a visit to the media centre.

Again, feeling for the form. This guy from Durbs would recognise himself if he saw this.

Finally, often while drawing from life, a work takes on a life of its own. Here a few lines taken from some oke's face leave an image that is a metaphor for, well, the absurdity that is the army.

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