Cynthia Barlow Marrs SGFA

Portfolio: • The Papered Over series

Papered Over No. 3

September 2021
= NEWS = No. 3 has been selected for the 2021 ING Discerning Eye exhibition 11 - 21 November at Mall Galleries London and online.

This series had its debut last year with Papered Over No. 1 in my solo exhibition at the Old Court artspace in Windsor. No. 2 was on show this year at the Mall Galleries in London, in the centenary exhibition of the Society of Graphic Fine Art. Both artworks are now in private collections.

If you look closely at No. 3, you can see the ghost of an earlier sketch peeping through. In this series I draw over litho-printed reproductions of my own sketches with new layers in pencil and, in some cases, charcoal and ink. By the time the new artwork is complete, all that remains of the printed imagery is an impression of something underneath.

So far in the series I have used grids and patterns to create new layers. But the sketch reproductions beneath them began life as freehand line drawings I made on site in Windsor’s historic Guildhall. In No. 3, for example, you can just about make out one of the stained glass windows I drew in the Ascot Room.

I’ll be giving little ‘tours’ of the sketches I have covered so far in the series. Next year it will be ten years since I was unofficial ‘sketcher in residence’ at the Windsor Emporium, a monthly artist and artisan fair that for several years was based at the Guildhall. Back then I was new at location drawing, and was given permission to turn up at the Windsor Emporium with my sketchbook to practice drawing people in a grand setting with royal portraits, velvet curtains and chandeliers.

But more about that later.

Graphite on litho reproduction
30cm x 15.5cm

Papered Over No. 1

Papered Over No. 1 was one of two new large monochrome drawings featured in my solo exhibition 'Pale Grey Castle' at The Old Court artspace, Windsor in the summer of 2020. It marks the beginning of a new direction for my art.

I had been looking for a way to combine my love of layers, grid structure, mark-making and patterns. It was also important to me that the drawing should have a tonal range from dense black to white. As I cast an eye around the studio for the paper best suited to this project, I remembered my stash of uncut litho-printed pages from my Windsor Emporium Sketchbook.

In 2013 I commissioned Vision Litho to design and produce The Windsor Emporium Sketchbook, a small limited edition book of drawings I had made over the course of a year under the chandeliers of our historic Guildhall. My subjects were the visitors and vendors of the Windsor Emporium, a monthly artist-and-artisan fair featuring handmade and collectible goods. Thus began my habit of returning to the same location, month after to month, to draw for hours at a time.

When I took delivery of the beautifully designed Windsor Emporium Sketchbooks, I discovered the printer had very kindly sent a small stack of surplus uncut A1 pages, my Windsor Emporium sketches printed on both sides. For quite some time I had been mulling over how best to put these to good use. It turns out they were perfect for the project that became Papered Over.

The idea was to cover the page with marks in ink and pencil so that all that remains of the printed imagery is an impression that there is more to the artwork than what one sees on the surface. This took me some time, and as the new drawing spread across reproductions of my eight year old sketches, I thought about past and present, and the way things that have gone before influence what we do today.

Private collection

Ink, pencil and charcoal on litho-printed paper
48cm x 52cm

Papered Over no. 2

On show at Mall Galleries London 6 - 11 July 2021 in the Society of Graphic Fine Art Centenary Exhibition

Private collection

Ink and pencil on litho-printed reproduction
23.5cm x 31cm

Papered Over No. 2 in mount and frame

Graphite, ink and cut papers on litho printed paper
24cm x 31.5cm