Lincoln Imp

Photo credit: Peter James Samuel Cooper

The Lincoln Imp is a small devilish creature who was sent from the underworld to cause havoc. In theory, to put an end to this destruction, an angel turned the imp to stone. The imp has been watching from his position on an arch inside Lincoln cathedral for a few hundred years. Visitors spend a long time hunting for him so I won’t say which arch…

Last October I noticed some plans for a Lincoln Imp Trail. A design for a large impish creature was unveiled. Its facial features were too small and it had an unfortunately positioned leg which was regarded as phallic by some observers.

I emailed the imp makers to suggest they looked closer at the real imp’s face. Maybe they could reconsider their design? They thanked me for my feedback but claimed their imps were not based on any specific imp(!) It must be a coincidence that their imp has been designed to perch with hands resting on one leg. Sitting in that position fits a character who peeks out from an arch of greenery, artistic license would allow some movement.

Recently the full size imps have appeared in the city. The tale of the hilarious phallic statues has reached the national press. Not all publicity is good – but maybe a shameful council that plans to close Lincoln’s Usher Gallery will realise that people really do need to be more visually literate.

A Wild in Art spokesperson said: “The mischievous response on social media is in the spirit of the imp and shows that people are looking forward to this event”.

Lincoln Imp, carved limestone.

“Once decorated the sculptures, which are based on Lincoln’s iconic imp will make a vibrant, colourful and fun art trail celebrating the city.”

Now they’re saying it’s based on a specific imp, will they admit it lacks any mischievous spirit? It’s dispiriting to think that sculpting skills were so much livelier in previous centuries. My own stonemason ancestors must be whirling in their tombs.

Full Cold Moon

Linocut on Japanese paper, 12 x 12 cm.

Full cold moon; a time when we’re naturally accelerated, energy is flowing and things will naturally come to a conclusion. Time to consider that ridiculous ten year project which we can now let go of.

Today’s full moon coincides with a general election. There was a double rainbow in the sky when I went out to vote.

Drawing at Art College

Drawing at Art College. Mostly mark-making, none of that precise decorative nonsense.

There was an incident one lunchtime when I was drawing a sewing pattern on the back of an old print. My drawing tutor looked at the lines on the paper and said: “This could be better!”.
I explained it would be a shape to chalk around. It had an arrow to indicate the direction of fabric grain and various clues for dart position and seam allowance. Perfect!
He furrowed his brow and continued to insist that the drawing needed more depth, more information for the viewer. In that moment I felt the full weight of the futility of art theory. A printmaking tutor arrived. He rescued the situation by explaining the difference between functional drawing and Fine Art Drawing in a few words. I still wish we had drawn an infographic for clarity.

Life drawing every Monday. The life drawing room could be a place to hide, according to some painters. Presumably landscape drawing offers a similar chance to escape from a stuffy studio environment(?).

We began with quick exercises to loosen the wrists, usually the model moved around or through a fixed structure. Some models practiced yoga while we drew their repetitive movements.

I have spent time in some incredibly dull life rooms, which involved drawing a person standing still in a pastel coloured room. Ideally, there is good light on the subject, who has taken an interesting pose.

Ideally, the work made during the day bears some resemblance to a human form. It’s easy to spot errors because the drawn person appears unable to function with those spindly limbs or crooked neck. Drawing a naked human means there are no useful clothing folds to mask a dodgy angle.

As an Art student, listening to irrelevant waffle, I often wondered:
Is there any other subject that can be taught by people who possess very little relevant skill?