Peter Howson- Feeling and Expression

I was excited, when I looked at a selection of contemporary works, by how many pictures I found where the artist’s feeling could be intuited from the way an image was drawn.

These drawings are by Peter Howson, a Scottish contemporary artist.  (He was the British official war artist in the 1993 Bosnian civil war.)

Artwork by Peter Howson, Christ Seen From The Foot Of The Cross, Made of graphite

 In Christ Seen from the Foot of the Cross (2008) the graphite lines are more soulful, less intense, more curved, more sensitive and less angular.  It has a sense of movement and energy -particularly in the central flourishes- but also denotes a sense of calmness, deep spirituality and depth of feeling.

Artwork by Peter Howson, Dear Child, Made of Graphite

 Dear Child (2008) is drawn in graphite with loose, light lines.  It is very faint- almost implied- although notably the most definite points are the faces and eyes of the man and child.  There is a lot of space and no shading.  It imbues a sense of openness, tranquility and wistfulness.
The last two images are drawn in graphite, and as well as the subject matter being very different, they both project very different emotional messages to the viewer.  This might imply that the expression in a drawing is as much a function of the act of creating the artwork as the subject and the medium used.  The first image is much harsher and angrier than the other two with its dense black angular lines which implies to me that the act of drawing it was a more impassioned experience for the artist.

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