Over the past ten years or so I have been working on pencil drawings of doors. These drawings are 70x100cm and are done entirely with pencil. I do them when I am tired of rocking mezzotint plates or need a break from scraping and burnishing. They allow me to relax and at least temporarily put aside my obligations.
These pencil drawings are finished relatively quickly when compared to a mezzotint, usually in about three weeks. My large mezzotints take about seven months.
Doors are very symbolic. They represent portals between spaces and can be opened or closed. Is the door half open or half closed? What is on the other side? Whose door is it? When was it built? How many people have used this door? Why is it in such bad shape? All of these questions have answers that usually we do not know. But we do know that it is either there as a barrier or an opening or possibly both.
I have traveled extensively and am always fascinated by the old doors that I see. The Greek doors with their stone frames, old Lithuanian doors with their rotten wood and traces of hands and paws, and Polish doors whose aged silvery wood and graffiti all intrigue me. They are worn and have beautiful textures in the broken frames, old wood and broken mortar and stone on the surrounding walls. Stains from leaky eves and drains, and electric wires add details and structure. All of these characteristics add to the appeal for me and even though doors are different everywhere they all serve the same purpose.
The challenge for me when drawing these doors is to study texture, different textures. This information that I gather in making door drawings is easily translated to my mezzotint work. In fact I consider it essential.
But I also love the process of drawing. I love the feel of the pencil with its freedom of movement and simplicity or should I say directness. It is possibly the simplest tool for creating an image.