I discovered Eileen Hogan’s work very recently in a book I’ve been reading called “Ways of Drawing: Artists’ Perspectives and Practices” and was automatically drawn to this work by her (which automatically makes me want to get up and draw!):

Eileen Hogan, Ian Hamilton Finlay Walking Towards the Roman Garden, 2009, charcoal on paper, found in: Bell, J., Balchin, J. and Tobin, C. (2019). Ways of drawing. Artists’ perspectives and practices. Farnborough: Thames & Hudson Ltd., p. 53
  • what seems to be the process here: basic marks and lines indicating general shapes and forms of objects, which are then gone over with more ‘detail’ – the detail in here being the process of shading, giving the lines more materiality
  • the same ‘unfinishedness’ that she discussed in her essay – this includes the quick lines as well as the text – quick observation of the surroundings
    • I like the addition of the text in here – adds a roughness and rawness to the drawing – makes it more in the moment – conveys quick passings of thought that just needed to be recorded and put down so that they would not be lost in the flux of observations, thoughts and ‘visual images’
  • some line ‘structures’ are left untouched, or indeed unfinished, which means that the composition ends up having a fair amount of negative space, that brings balance to the image
    • the lines visible within the negative space are left to wonder – the viewer is left to think about the ‘untold’ what hasn’t yet been said by the lines – these lines present a possibility – a future
  • a variation of pressures applied to the material along with a variation of approaches towards it – some left as bold marks, some blended – some applied from the tip of the charcoal, some from its side
  • the balance also occurs with the different ‘sections – the grid that is formed makes the drawing slightly more structured
    • is this what I want from my work too? I thought that introducing structure wouldn’t go with the intended spontaneity, butInkedInked20191212_135726_LI edited


  • but, when we step back, or slightly disassociate ourselves from the image, the charcoal sections become indeterminate – they begin bending together and loosing their original meaning and ‘purpose’
    • I like the fact that the centre of the composition is concentrated with charcoal – whereas the outer areas around it have more distance between them
    • what this also creates is a balance between the environment and the figure in the foreground – there end up being two main focus points – one on the figure and one of the tree trunks further in the distance – I find the combination of the two balancing techniques calming on the eye – quite peaceful and not too overwhelming
  • I also like the contrast between the more refined nature of the figure as opposed to the roughness and rapidness of the garden – the most focused areas of the figure are the face and the torso, so it’s not completely refined either – the unfinished elements of it connect it with the rapidness of the experience as well as the person’s surroundings – breaking the boundaries between the two – CONNECTING THEM


showing that one can shape the other, by using similar mark-making or lines – just like the vertical ones that represent the legs, also stand for branches and trunks.



“The whole idea of presence and absence runs through all of my work. And when I am working on a series of pictures the memory of the place is as important as the place itself,”

Hogan, E. (n.d.). Biography – Eileen Hogan. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Dec. 2019].
  • just reading this quote, looking at the drawing above and reading a bit more about her just makes me want to read her book: “Personal Geographies” (2019)
  • before I read and research any more on the artist and her practice I just wanted to think about and point out the key elements of this quote:
      • perhaps indicates the passing of time?
      • perhaps being in the space, but not actually encountering it because we are more focused on the physical aspect of it – or maybe the other way around?
      • allows for a full encounter and connection with the place – not just being in the space but also what impact it leaves on us – this impact can be analysed and judged in terms of the memories we hold of the place

“I think that the whole process of walking, thinking and drawing goes right back to then [her school days of walking through the Tooting Common] And the idea that what I am painting is a record of an encounter”

Morris, R. (2013). British Artist Explores Poetry of Light in Enclosed Spaces. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Dec. 2019].
  • focusing on a direct encounter with things and her surroundings
  • a documentation process – more successful when it becomes a daily activity – more in-depth knowledge of the object (if consistently looking at one object), creating familiarity and a connection, as well as training the eye to see and experience things beyond our surface level understanding


“Opening Lecture – Eileen Hogan: Personal Geographies”: Notes (2019). YouTube. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Dec. 2019].
  • why we are who we are, and why we do what we do
  • combining landscape painting and portraiture
  • words and letter–forms present in her work
  • surrounded by the legacy of war when she was growing up in Tooting Common – bron in 1946 – so childhood would have been right after WWII
  • inspired by different combinations of light

“walking and drawing are always the beginning for me,

scribbling and making notes in my sketchbook,

I find out what connects me to a place or what I think through drawing.”

  • always paints from the same spot – once settled on one, in a project
    • make it hers, becomes a ritual
  • Little Sparta – represents an interaction with both the person as well as the place
  • FAMILIARITY is important to her – if you see something everyday it changes both the experience and the relationship between the observer and the object
  • likes to paint things that disappear -like rain and snow and mist – TRANSFORMATION
  • spends week planning and observing in advance
  • concentrating on geometry and rhythm
  • traces of the previous layers get trapped between the layers and become ghostly in the final painting
  • SPONTENAITY requires an awful lot planning
  • doing something fresh and poetic with a traditional medium like paint
  • vividly of the passing of time – 3 hours per sitting when painting / drawing portraits from life – over the course of months or years
  • “a portrait is a confrontation of a meeting or a connection”
  • would study a person for a portrait painting commission and then when it came to the actual painting process in her studio she would paint without the model there – to focus less on the person but rather on the painting itself

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s