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  • Writer's pictureSarah McCartney

drawing and rain swimming

I was asked today how I would like someone looking at my drawings to feel about them. What did I want someone looking at my drawings to see and what was I trying to achieve. I find that a difficult question so it is a good one and I should think about it. There are many reasons I draw. Drawing can be the means of creating an image and that can be the aim from the beginning. As a wildlife illustrator my job was to create images to illustrate a narrative. But within my own art practice I don't draw to make an image, drawing is a process, drawing is the narrative and the image is what is created along the way. I don't draw with other people in mind either so I don't have a fixed idea of what someone else will 'get' from my drawing. I leave that open and for whoever finds my work to take what they want.

I draw to see, to explore, to play, to be where I am at the moment with the paper and ink, with the being or being shadow that is before me, in the landscape I've wandered into. I draw to focus on the place I am at and to make me stay a while and be still. I draw because I'm excited about the beauty of something and i want to get closer. I draw to celebrate a life and because I am amazed by it. I draw as I remember a feeling. I draw to tell the story of a time. I

draw to play with line and colour because its a joy, like listening to music. I draw to heal a wound and work out a feeling. Drawing is the left over of a moment, my moment.

But the left over of that time spent is a physical image that carries a story, just as words do. The story of the ink flowing across a sheet of paper, the time I spent with a dead bird, remembering a swim, and when I share that image with others the story breaks away from me and takes on a new life viewed by others with their own stories.

I restart my MA very soon so I'm thinking about why I took it on in the first place. The aim was to focus on my art practice, allow myself time to study and try to understand what it is I do. I've always been a bit of a drifter, compulsive and focussed on detail but unconscious of the whole picture. Also I draw in different ways and I make objects. What is the link between my drawings of dead birds, my drawings of swimmers and the one hundred small things in resin? As I explore my own practice and the work of other artists and writers I am finding threads linking everything together. I just need the words. The MA is a bit of a pilgrimage. Still not clear but I'm walking every day.

rain swim

roll over stretch out

face up

beneath the surface

see the other side of a raindrop

see sky fall

from inside water

be there when sky and water meet

be there when clouds collapse

and one hundred thousand raindrops fall



filling mouth and eyes

with sweet and salt


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