Was back in Rome in early December, with students for two days and on my own for another three days, drawing. Filled a couple of sketchbooks (one, long and thin, and the other, big and square) as well as a folded-sheet, which turned out quite well. Happy to say, one of the better ones; the way the drawings relate and interconnect across the page. Partly, because I was using different materials to picture the scenes, the rhythm of textures and spaces (between the drawings) happen to weave an interrupted optical pattern over the surface, which together with the changing near-and-far viewpoints, all chance to strike the intriguing visual balance we like the folded sheets to have.
The patch which got my interest this time, which I returned to every evening once the crowds had thinned, was the Capitoline and Michaelangelo’s start on redesigning Rome, the Campidoglio. Always extrordinary, the place took on extra poignancy as Stephanie called with tragic news as I was about to cut across the piazza around midnight. Unable to take another step, crying for sadness, taking in the fact of a teenager dying, the scene I’d drawn many times before began to materialise after the blur of tears absorbing the shock started to clear. Deserted in the lamplight with a biting winter wind gusting across between the ordered stone of wall and pavement, my blind gaze started to see it all in another light, as from staring unseeing it took my melancholy eye into, around and upwards in a manifest display of architectual genius; geometry, seemingly of benign magnificence. From deep shadowed archways to the subtle-domed oval rising and framing the equestrian statue with its rider pointing. All held in the wide windowed & balconied well of three palaces’ walls open to the night and the starry sky; Micaelangelo’s Campidoglio.
So it was why, I popped back at the end of every day to draw until m’fingers froze.