A book to savourPosted: June 1, 2020
“This book is also about drawing, and what the process of drawing brings out of me. In his poem ‘Afterwards’, Thomas Hardy ends the first stanza with: ‘He was a man who used to notice such things’. I’ve come to feel that noticing things, looking more intently at them and understanding them better, is key to what drawing means. It has always made places more interesting, and made me feel more alive.” David Gentleman, from the first page of his newly released book My Town: An Artist’s Life in London.
I’m a fan of David Gentleman‘s books and drawings, and several months ago, when I saw that he had a new one coming out, I preordered it. It arrived today, just as I was painting a scene in my garden, but I stopped what I was doing to have a look at it.
I don’t hold many books in my hands these days. Most of what I read is in digital format — both newspapers and novels from the library — so this one is going to be a special treat that I will savour. The hardcover is printed on thick paper (it feels almost like a sketchbook) and includes stories and sketches of London from Gentleman’s seventy years in the city. And in a year when most of us will be staying close to home, the idea of noticing our surroundings and understanding them better through our drawings has a special significance for me. This will be a slow read, in the best possible way, for sure.