July, 2019

It feels like I’ve been sitting in this room forever. I could go out to a café or a museum, anywhere, just to be out of here - but I don’t. I have a list of things to do today and one of them is DO SOME DRAWING. I’m trying to draw every day this summer. So far since I woke up, though, I have made some coffee, cleaned the floor, read the news and otherwise wasted some time. I have just looked to my right and the candle I have been burning for a few days spilled out of itself, a stream of hot wax must have just burst through its side. It’s pooled on the desk, around three smaller candles, which are keeping some of it molten while the outer edges of the pool solidify and turn from clear to white. It’s somehow monstrous, this coagulation and spreading of wax, seemingly more than the candle could ever have held.

I have been drawing faces. My own and other people’s. It’s not easy to draw a face, especially not one that you know very well. I skirt the pencil around a robust edge, a clear shape, and I try to work outwards from that - or inwards. Often it’s the line from the brow around the cheek to the chin, and then I make another line for the brow and to delineate the nose. Then with less confidence I can hop from that to the mouth and make the line of the upper lip, the corners of the mouth, then however many contours the lower lip has - often not a lot, perhaps some small creases. I try to hang the furthest eye from the scaffold of the brow, braced by the nose. It’s a recession in the face with a hard round object secured inside some curving folds. The corner of the eye is important, and its direction, and the shape of its outer taper. If these are wrong the expression of the face will change a lot, it’s critical for getting the ‘likeness’ of the person. An old-fashioned term which makes me sound like my old conservative life drawing teacher. So I concentrate, a bit too hard, and the eye ends up overwrought, and I’m annoyed with myself.

I do this drawing while counting down the time until I should get on my bike and leave for work. I’m working evenings in an office building down at the port, where the cruise ships come in. I think they’re the ugliest things I’ve ever seen, and I amuse myself by comparing each one to a different piece of office equipment. The ‘Celebrity’ ones might be the worst, looking like oversized versions of the big printer I use to photocopy itineraries for the excursions that the ‘guests’ (we have been instructed to call them guests) will take in Bergen. Dale is silent through my tirades about how awful the industry is. I think he feels the same way about cruise ships that I do about England.