Australian Fine Artist

Maggie Hambling

Short video of an interview with the artist.

Maggi Hambling was born on 23 October 1945 in suffolk and is an English painter and sculptor. Possibly her best known public works are her memorial to Oscar Wilde in London and Scallop, a 4 metre high steel sculpture on Aldeburg beach dedicated to Benjamin Britten. It seems that both works have attracted a degree of controversy in the past.

For this short interview she was asked about her drawings. She started of by comparing drawing to a type of battle field, although that analogy got past me a bit to be honest, other than the inner struggle we may have to bring out what we want to product and what ends up on the paper.

She later talked about how drawing is a basic and fundamental disciplin liking it also to the practice that a musician must put in to become the best they can achieve by doing scales on the piano. It’s all about the mark making, she said. Drawing is not just lines or sketching, it is the translation of what you are observing via the mind to the hand. It is a constant discovery and each time you look must be with a fresh mind open to new visions and information.

As we watched the video, Maggie was in the middle of life drawing sessions. She looked a rather stern taskmaster as the model even though young and fit was posing on a hard wooden floor and sometimes sweating and muscles straining from the position. Whilst watching this she was talking about the cooperative even symbiotic relationship that the artist has with the model.

From this arose the question: As the artist observes are they subjective or objective in the way they are processing the information? For me I think – a bit of both.

Maggie went on to say that how the artist lays out a drawing on to a sheet of paper or whatever surface they are using, into the defined area of that surface, creating the working perimeters of the artwork. This is the business of drawing.

We looked at a few drawings by Michaelangelo and Van Gogh, whom she admires and we were taken through the marks they made and what she likes about them.

A feeling that I have often had was about the last major topic of the interview. That weird thing of nearly thinking you are channeling something from outside yourself as you draw or paint. The desire comes to you to produce a piece and you are passionate about getting it done, but then once finished, you can remove yourself from it and passionately go on to the next project. I think I am there as I can easily release nearly any work to someone else and get into new works with that spirit that comes to urge you to keep creating.

Painting is an act of faith, Maggie said. Which we keep returning to. Something I intend to do, now that I am back on the right track… at last.


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