‘Seeing’ was partially inspired by a very ornate mirror – with the Greek myth of Narcissus on the back – I saw in the Fitzwilliam Museum a year or two ago, whilst observational drawing. My university education was based in observational drawing, so if I’m feeling drained creatively, I tend to go back to drawing from observation. I also wanted to play around with materials a bit, and try to capture the glow of a mirror with polychromos pencils – sometimes just playing around with different materials can be inspiring.
During a pandemic it’s a bit difficult to go observational drawing anywhere, which is why I’ve mainly been drawing from nature, gardens and my local park to get myself into the flow of drawing. I also wanted to draw this mirror as a break from that – so I wasn’t drawing something entirely nature based and draw a man-made object.
It was also inspired by the number of gothic novels I read. If I’m ever feeling stuck creatively, I tend to go back to books that have connected with me and have lots of visual imagery in their writing. Angela Carter’s books and short stories have tones of striking imagery, as does Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea; Frances Hardinge’s books are gothic coming of age stories that I’m also drawn to. With this piece, I wanted to create the sense of unease, and self-cultivation that some of these stories have.