Why Do Anything New? / by Sasha Ward

 1970

1970

This drawing is called "Myself Going to School on the First Morning" and it had a whole page in the school magazine that year. Looking at my old drawing, I find myself transported to the moment I was doing it - I remember the scratchy dip pen, the decision not to finish off the paving pattern and the dots that I used to plan the shapes of the clouds that were supposed to be hidden by the stripy sky. The most authentic details are my lovely new shoes, briefcase and donkey jacket and the most amazing thing is how all the elements that make my artwork particular to me are present in this example. 

The cover of the magazine in that year of my first morning brings back more wallpaper memories. B.H.O. (english teacher) wrote in his editorial; "The School has been redecorated, and we can now well imagine the former elegance of the eighteenth century houses that constitute the School. To commemorate this event, our cover this year is an adaptation of a piece of wallpaper from the entrance hall". This wallpaper is listed as Sanderson's "Rivoli" in the index. The overblown floral shapes on top of irregular stripes are just like something I am designing at the moment.

 1974

1974

This drawing, printed on the sort of brown paper I like to use now, has a whole page in the 1974-5 magazine. I  think it's based on observation, in fact I'm pretty sure it's of Caroline Fitt, but I think of this as another self portrait. The detail that amazed me when I saw it again was the horizontal dot pattern. I've tried to limit my use of this as a filler pattern, thinking that I'd picked it up at a later date from looking at Paul Klee. I admire the time it must have taken me to keep the dots varied in shape but not scale, perfect for that scratchy pen. So, why do anything new ? I don't think I could improve on these self portraits now.  

More recent examples of the patterns I used in those early drawings: Left to right: The vertical waves at Langley Green Hospital 2008: The stripy sky at The State Hospital 2009: The dot pattern at Longparish School 2005. Click on photos to enlarge.