Wednesday 7 December 2011

I Am Not Worthy (2) - Russ Nicholson

Lost loves, the evening cold all painted with the lights of Christmas on my evening walk and in the slush of today’s hail were footprints. Kids nearby loud on the common but these prints were big, bigger than mine but more closely spaced. Whatever it was that hid and watched and never blinked with ice in the night it took its shape from Russ Nicholson. As with Ian Millar, Russ Nicholson’s art quickens my heart. These are the images it might be said of my youth. Etched with an old pen across my eyes, work I haven’t seen for decades I remember, recalling each mark, each line.
I used to try and draw like Russ Nicholson. I didn’t copy but the busy clarity, the packed frames and the detail that crowded the broader spaces of each face inspires me still. The intricacy that I couldn’t do so well still excites me. I draw for fun, it heals my head after too long a day, too hectic, too much writing crammed close and noisy about the sprouts. Brain ticking over twice a tock to each second it’s pencils, pen and ink that slows me, that calms me. I think widely when I draw and it keeps me sane, saner, and that’s probably because of Russ Nicholson. Because seeing his art when I was young then I knew that what I drew, it was all right to draw. I admire many artists, but few actually make me smile. Not every time. Not where as here every picture makes you a part of it.
So much of me is drawn in ink. Russ Nicholson showed me how to start. Just for fun. But what better a thing to be for? And what better a reason to be.  


  1. Its book illustrators more than major "Artists" of canvas that inspire me too. Arthur Rackham, Pauline Baines, and more latterly PJ Lynch and Alan Lee. It's the joy of finding sixpence in the pocket of a comfy coat, when you turn the page of an enthralling book and happen on magical windows to the prose.

  2. It is to my lasting annoyance that I never owned a 'Fiend Folio'. I was quite fond of the art style of whoever drew the Moorcock mythos stuff for version 1 of 'Deities and Demigods', but this is streets ahead of even those clean lines.

    It's also an impressive tribute. Your appreciation flows from the writing, and is all the more fulsome in its praise thanks to your phrasing. If I were Russ Nicholson, I'd be scarlet right now.

  3. I think so too ddraiggwyrdd, though they translate better to print and internet. It's been some years since I've been to the Tate or the National Gallery, and paintings you need to see in the canvass. I last went to a gallery in the Reading museum, which was just one room, but very nice. And Reading museum had done away with its bees. They used to have bees. Albeit thirty odd years ago. My mum had to buy me a recorder for school. That did no one any good.

  4. He should preen if he has, Moz. I'd not noticed till just now but his piece sits nearly square beside that one of the Rose Maiden on this page - and you can probably see what I mean there.

  5. Oh absolutely - it's the little extra details, and the attention to detail. I should say that your Rose Maiden is one of my favourite pieces of yours, although not because (a) there are lots of small details, or (b) she has her baps out; but simply because of the wonderful effect you created by drawing nothing for her legs - so the trees make a dress for her. Very subtle stuff.