'Quentin Blake: Portraits in Ballpoint' & 'Linda Kitson: from Sketchpad to iPad'

At: Bankside Gallery, 48 Hopton Street, London SE1 9JH

9 November 2022 - 20 November 2022

More info: https://www.banksidegallery.com/exhibitions/88-quentin-blake-portraits-in-ballpoint-linda-kitson/overview/

For the first time in their long and distinguished careers, lifelong friends Sir Quentin Blake and Linda Kitson are presenting a showcase of their recent work side by side in a major new exhibition at Bankside Gallery in London.

The humble ballpoint pen is not readily associated as an artist’s instrument of choice but in Quentin Blake’s hands it has become an essential implement. Over a period of two years, he has made over 3000 drawings, using Bic Soft Feel and Bic Crystal pens.

The resulting works retain his instantly recognisable scratchy and expressive style.  The subjects are imaginary portraits, and although the ballpoint works most naturally on an average A3 sheet of paper, there are some up to 40 x 30 inches (76 x 101 cms).  Quentin discovered the possibilities of working with a biro when he saw that he could accumulate lines, create shading and his characteristically eccentric cross hatching, along with open-line drawing.

Read more about Quentin's biro portraits on the QBHQ blog, 'Strictly Ballpoint'.

The exhibition will also reveal two phases of Linda Kitson’s work from the past 40 years - her cityscapes created on an iPad plus a series of landscapes from across Europe and Canada, worked in traditional pastels. During the 1980’s and 1990’s Linda travelled widely, mostly drawing mountainous landscapes in France, often working quite alone for months at a time, but with exhibitions in most years.  After a decade living abroad, Linda returned to the UK and discovered the iPad, which had the effect of completely reinventing her art. The cityscape images are remarkable, in that they are true to the architecture, which is her subject, but at same time the design and colour are powerfully abstract. 

Linda explains: “The way I do it is to throw a line around the edge of the subject, mostly in black & white & as fast as possible. I said, “there must be a way that you can just do the shape without line, in edge-to-edge full colour, and possibly not at breakneck speed!”

Despite the striking contrast between these phases of her work, when viewed side-by-side, a clear sequential progress can be seen.  Visitors to the show will be able to purchase Linda's works, along with a catalogue and other printed items available in the Gallery shop.

The exhibition, which is free to enter, is at the Bankside Gallery from Wednesday 9 November until Sunday 20 November.