By Kate Hartmann
Paekakariki based artist Harriet Bright continues to impress with her skill with the pencil.
Well known for her beautiful renderings of the human form, this time Harriet has captured the charm and chaos of a summer’s day in the garden hunting down chickens.
“Catching Chickens”, a framed pencil and conte drawing on board, is drawn from the viewpoint of the artist and takes in a full kaleidoscope of Harriet’s garden:
I wanted to show the glorious detail, but also the ever changing, confusing nature of the garden in midsummer, complete with escaped chickens, my own hand reaching to part the grass and lunge for one of them, my day-dreamy daughter, odd angles of the house, the fence, snatched views from here and there.
This drawing was done over the course of about a month, working outside in the garden, surrounded by chaotic, overgrown profusion. I drew the initial composition after trying to catch escaped chickens in our garden, with the help of my daughter and her boyfriend.
She is drawn clearly, he as a vague, looming figure, (I hardly knew him at the time) who turned into a ghost tree, which I had cut down the year before, and then back into a sort of scarecrow.
A couple of weeks into the drawing someone mentioned ‘The Scarecrow’ by Ronald Hugh Morrieson. The first line of the book is: ‘The same week our fowls were stolen, Daphne Moran had her throat cut’. The shadowy scarecrow figure had to stay after that…
The delight of drawing
Harriet has always loved the freshness and directness of drawing, the absolute focus and diligence required,
She has been influenced by artists who have also given as much weight to drawing as to other aspects of their work, in particular Egon Shiele, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Kathe Kollwitz, Marlene Dumas, Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore, Brett Whitely, Lucien Freud and David Hockney.
It is when drawing people that I am usually most engaged, and the more regular and committed I am in my drawing and painting practice, the more I find that it is a process in which I feel fully and deeply alive and at play.
I am always curious about the way we look at each other: as objects, as patterns of light and shade, as complex emotional people, as the ‘other’, as reflections of ourselves or as manifestations of spirit. For me, drawing is a translation of these ways of looking.
Harriet has recently taken up a new challenge, drawing portraits ‘blind’.
She is calling these works ‘Touch Portraits’ as they are reliant on her feeling her way around a subjects face while blindfolded and then translating this down onto the paper.
They are fascinating works and Tutere Gallery is also lucky enough to have one of those on show.
Tutere Gallery & Creative Space
48 Tutere Street, Waikanae Beach