I started by completing a list of ideas that I wanted to take forward with me in this exercise followed by some sketches to get my ideas flowing.
I found this exercise really hard to grasp. It was probably one of the easiest as it was simply using work from previous drawings to inform a new one. But for some reason this was a real challenge for me. As usual I find that I have too many ideas, which makes it difficult for me to select one idea and go with it. The exercise says ‘try to avoid making too many decisions in advance – let the process speak to you’. I think THIS is what I found a challenge. I like to think, plan, think and plan and I find it useful to know which direction I am going in. My exercises from part 2 are so varied in ideas and concepts that it was difficult for me to focus on one idea and ‘go with the process’.
These images ^^^^^ are quick sketches reverting back to fluid media and combining transfer drawings.
I started this exercise off with experimenting further with my transfer drawings. My response to them was a very ghostly, memory like feeling. This got me thinking:
- memory and place
- Places where destruction has taken place?! Mentally or physically
At this point (into the exercise) whilst I was drawing, I was listening to some music that mentioned a cliff. Thinking of memory I had a visual epiphany and saw someone standing on a cliff and starring out to the sea. This ‘epiphany’ was quite a romantic, peaceful, place of reflection to reflect on memories. I considered drawing a cliff and having ‘trouble’, destruction underneath where the person would be standing. I did a quick sketch and I didn’t really want a figure in the landscape. Maybe I could just have the viewer be that person? (as I didn’t use this idea I think this would be an interesting stance for my assignment piece).
From this, I essentially had to do some planning and experimenting to formulate one idea to move forward with and then let the process take me. I collected together some images from magazines to create a visual mood board to direct my drawing and aid my process. I decided to go for images of cliff edges. I started to make some sketches from this mood board of images.
I returned back to part 1 to pull out what I enjoyed doing. I really enjoyed working with fluid media and fine liner pen for detail (which I also used for the previous exercise) so I wanted to bring ink and become a little more playful with this exercise. (my plan was to draw looser). I started to draw a cliff on the righthand side of the paper with ink. I was working on my easel, so the ink was dripping down the page, which I liked so I let it run without becoming too precious over the drawing. I combined further marks and lines to the drawing which was taken from another sketch I completed based on a different image of a landscape. I realised that I hadn’t added any collage material into this drawing. By accident I came across an image of Indiana Jones holding a fire torch walking through a cave. I put this into my drawing, for comical appeal. I added a further image of a jelly fish below my cliff drawing. Pulling ideas from other drawings within part 2 I drew a brick wall to separate the landscape into sections. I started to then use ink to add colour to these sections of the drawing. This kind of idea is linked to Michele Luger’s work of using colour in her collages.
I came across an image in the magazine that made me want to add further colour into my drawings. This made me think of starry night by Van Gogh. I made a duplicate of the image using oil pastel which I had planned to stick to the top of my drawing, bringing the sky alive. This wasn’t going to work. I felt it was too heavy and I wondered if I had completed it with tracing paper it could have been a more transparent addition to the drawing, more delicate.
I took another image, one of my own photographs this time, and responded to it with colour, using oil pastel. I guess in a way creating a surreal paradise attached to the photograph that quite obviously didn’t fit together. I felt that the outcome of this was fairly unsuccessful. Firstly, I felt that it looked like a child had done it. I felt that I could have made a link to the fauvism movement but the drawing just felt flat, a waste of time. It couldn’t be a piece in itself, it needed something adding to it, some finer details, some more collage? I decided that I wasn’t going to spend any more time on this idea and put to one side. It would be an interesting piece towards my development but I felt that it was just a kind of random idea that I had and wanted to experiment with.
I was desperate to find a composition, a drawing that I was actually pleased with. For my final attempt (before I was going to go mad) was the use of my own photographs from Canary Wharf. I made a photo joiner for this. I experimented with some transfer drawings onto this piece, contrasting the delicacy with the hard architecture of the photograph. This didn’t work at all. I’m not sure if it was the paper I was using but at this point I was just feeling a bit overwhelmed with the process and I had no idea what to do.
I had come to a complete melting point and I could not think of any imagery to pull through, nothing was jumping out at me. I was simply stuck and not any source of inspiration could pull me through. I went for a walk!
On my return I felt that the most successful piece was the first drawing, with the cliff face and other landscape features. I took a moment to consider what was working and what wasn’t working on this drawing:
- the brick wall – draws your eye into the piece so that you look at the finer details.
- The use of fluid media- the coloured ink to portray the fields in the landscape. I could perhaps add some trees, flowers, foliage into the fields.
- The added drawings of the rocks (maybe make more obvious)
- the drips of the ink, I liked, but for the scale of the piece I felt that it was too heavy. The lines were too powerful
- Fine details are a little lost with the powerful ink
- I don’t think the collaged material adds anything to the piece
I would like to add a variation in scale. And perhaps add an architectural element.
So I stopped thinking and was fed up of working small as I find it frustrating. I wanted to go crazy and be free to draw away. So I did. I took out my large roll of paper stuck it to the wall and started to draw! However before I embarked on this drawing – that I so eagerly needed out of my system – I stopped to consider the aspects of collage within the piece.
When I was in Canary Wharf taking pictures of buildings I started to focus on the sky and the dynamic contrast between the harsh architecture and the soft clouds. This stemmed the idea of my colour study. I decided to arrange my collaged elements (my own photographs which I copied in black and white) in the similar style to my assignment 1 piece. In a circle. The idea was then to draw the centre of it with oil pastel creating an extension of the sky. I also considered having it look like a whirlwind type visual, re-creating my tornado with string stemming from the centre of the sky. This was something I considered to return to as I also came across graph paper. I wanted to use this piece as an experiment and to allow any ideas to take me forward. To me, the graph paper imitates a grid like version of a city scape so I used this as a further collaged element.
Using ink, I loosely drew the outline of the cliff and other aspects of the landscape. My concern was that the ink lines were going to be too thick, as I discovered for the initial drawing but as I was enlarging the scale I hoped that the thickness of the lines wouldn’t affect the piece too much.
Wanting to incorporate fluid media, I began to add colour to my drawing using ink and water colour. Whilst reflecting on the initial experiments I had completed, my partner mentioned that I could perhaps do the cliff on one side of the drawing and then contrast it with a building from my photographs at Canary Wharf. I decided that I would try this out. I drew the building with pencil to grasp a good point of perspective and then went over this in black marker. I then thought it would be quite an interesting skyline to have a few buildings together in the background. I drew two more using different coloured marker. I didn’t want to use too much black as I felt that the ink was dominating the scene already with the drips.
I continued to add colour and experiment with fluid media, combining watercolour and ink. The piece really started to form as a landscape but with the juxtaposition of a city scape, with the strong vertical and horizontal lines from the architectural drawings. I really liked the overlapping of the two, allowing some of the lines from the building to become part of the foreground and some staying in the background. I’m still unclear what I should do with the middle part of the drawing and I think for now I am going to leave it as it is.
I think the drips of ink, again, started to become too overpowering and I would look for a way to reduce the effect of this on my drawing if I were to use this idea again.
I feel a little disappointed with my cliff. I was trying to add delicate details into the cliff edge but I found this really hard to create as I was finding that the delicate details were going unseen. This was when I added further marks with my ink, straight from the pot which ended up with my drips, which to me, has made the cliff a little lost in its clarity.
At another stage, or perhaps going forward with this idea for my assignment piece, I would like to use the ink drips and form a usage out of them. My mum suggested that I turn some of the drips into pipes or wires of the city which I thought was a really interesting idea. Putting a point, or a function to these drips links to a book I am reading for my Understanding Visual Culture unit called ‘The Construction of Social Reality’. It discusses the point that humans create various functions for an object for it to have meaning.
Figure 1. Van Gogh, V. (1889). Starry Night. [arts and culture] At: https://artsandculture.google.com/asset/the-starry-night/bgEuwDxel93-Pg?hl=en-GB (Accessed on 20 August 2018)