Cynthia Barlow Marrs SGFA

Portfolio: • Pale Grey Castle - solo exhibition 2020

Pale Grey Castle in The Bulletin 4/2020

The Bulletin is published online every quarter by the Society of Graphic Fine Art - The Drawing Society with news of events and exhibitions by members of the Society.

Pale Grey Castle - solo exhibition 03 September - 14 October

My first solo exhibition in my home town takes place in the Upper Bar at The Old Court Artspace Windsor SL4 3BL until 14 October 2020. Doors open daily at 11am.

• New large studio drawings and 16 framed sketchbooks

In 2020 I have begun to create large studio drawings in which I reinvent scenes around Windsor. 'Pale Grey Castle' is the first example of this. In another series my love of mark-making and patterns and repeats comes to the fore. First in this series is 'Papered Over’, a pattern-rich drawing layered over litho-printed paper left over from the production of my limited edition book ‘The Windsor Emporium Sketchbook’.

Sketchbooks aren't normally on display in art shows, but in this case they are an important part of the exhibition. Most of my output over the past year consists of sketchbook drawings of live music events within walking distance of my home. Many of those drawings were made at The Old Court, but I also carried my sketchbook to candlelit carol services, recitals at Windsor Castle, music society concerts and a tango evening in Eton. None of us knew at the time how difficult it would be in 2020 to keep live music alive.

On the mantelpiece: Pale Grey Castle

The day before the hang my three foot tall drawing Pale Grey Castle was finally completed and framed.

Now in a private collection.

Studio shot: Countdown to the exhibition

It was down to the wire before hanging day for my solo exhibition Pale Grey Castle. In this studio shot Papered Over in the foreground was about to be framed, Judith was still contemplating her future in the background, and Pale Grey Castle was still on the easel, waiting to be a) completed and b) given a name.

Not in this photo: two more studio drawings to hang with these three, and sixteen sketchbooks in frames destined for display on the opposite wall.

Pale Grey Castle

I created this large studio drawing for my solo exhibition in September-October 2020 at The Old Court Artspace in Windsor. All I knew when I began was that it would be three feet high and mostly drawn in charcoal. Elements of the composition emerged as the drawing developed over a four week period, but its title escaped me until the day before the hang. And that is the name I gave to the exhibition.

Private collection.

Charcoal, graphite and ink on paper
91cm x 60cm

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


Frame by J Manley Gallery with specialist 'water white' glass

Charcoal on Paper

£600.00 Framed

Sketchbooks Wall 2

Sketchbooks Wall 3

Sketch collage wall: Live music in Windsor