Exercise 4.1 Look, no hands

The aim of this exercise is to explore how you can make a drawing simply by allowing the materials to be themselves – most important point to remember

I started by making my list of materials and mark making techniques. Before embarking on drawing I had a look at other students blogs to see how they read this exercise. I liked the idea that one student had of doing a ‘lucky dip’ for the materials and another for the mark making. She then paired the two up and continued this process until all materials were paired with a mark making technique. I decided that this was a good way to start my drawings otherwise, as the other student noted, I would find myself selecting the materials that I was comfortable with.


Charcoal – Ink Oil – pastel – Collage – Pen – Pencil – Masking tape – Glue – Coffee/ tea – Acrylic Paint – Sticks – Paint brushes – Watercolour – Tipex – Chalk pastel – Oil paint – Dirt  – Food colouring – Modrock

Mark making processes:

Printing – Forttage – Cross hatching – Dots – Smudging – Straight lines – Wiggly lines – Shapes – Body actions – Scratching – Dripping – Dribbling – Pouring – Carving – Relief drawing – Sanding – Scrunching – Bleaching – Tearing

I decided to also consider various surfaces to draw on to add a further dimension:

Carbon paper – Tracing paper – Tin foil – Cling film – Handmade paper – Graph paper – Cartridge paper – Newspaper – Newspaper print – Tissue paper

I think I would like to combine a couple of materials so I may pick more than one and have a play round with this ‘lucky dip’ idea.

Pen & shapes / Glue & smudging / Paint brushes & wiggly lines / Modrock & dribbling / Sticks & straight lines / Chalk pastel & dots / Ink & printing / coffee/ tea & relief drawing / Oil paint & scrunching (turns out I don’t have actually have any oil paint so will give it a go with acrylic paint) / Tipex & scratching  / Pencil & frottage / Charcoal & sanding (thought I had sandpaper but I don’t) I will rub it with tissue. / Watercolour & tearing / Food colouring & dripping / Acrylic paint & carving / masking tape & body actions  / Collage & bleaching / Oil pastel & cross hatching / Dirt & pouring

Quite an exciting and inventive way to choose what materials to draw and focusing on the process rather than what I am drawing and getting too bogged down in the actual drawing. Also my doing the ‘lucky dip’ idea its forcing me to think ‘outside the box’ and be inventive in the way I am thinking about how to make a mark in different ways. Its pushing the boundaries of what I would normally think. I hope to enjoy this process and see where it takes me and what I can focus on moving forward in the idea of ‘drawing as a process’.

It started to make me consider what smudging is? What can it be? How will I smudge glue and make a drawing from it?

Reverting back to the course material to confirm what I should be doing I decided that after I had completed these ‘paired’ drawings I would add further mark making processes to the original drawing.

Take some large sheets of paper and mask areas of each one. This means separate off an area to work within (by taping it or laying paper across parts to be left clean). You decide on the size and position of these masked areas. You may want to create a series of stripes, a small box in one corner or use the whole sheet. – so should I use one sheet of paper for all these processes and mark making. I guess I can do this and also some single sheets. Just enjoy where the process takes me…


The drawing above was made whilst watching the news. On the day I drew this I couldn’t get to the studio so I only had materials that were in my pencil case. It was the first drawing for this exercise using pen and shapes to create marks on the paper, part of the drawing process. I was watching the House of Commons debates between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn. I had never watched it before and I’m not really sure why I chose to watch it but it was the day Theresa May had to face the confidence vote from her party. Only during and after the completion of this drawing did I consider it to have some link to the politics I was watching. In my view, what goes on in the House of Commons debate is quite hilarious. I don’t understand all the yelling and the mocking that each party does to another, however I started to notice in my drawing a reaction to the turmoil and fragility of our country in the world of politics. On reflection my drawing (taking the shape of architecture and buildings) consisted of shapes balancing on one another and I had almost stacked the shapes on top of one another. I find that this reflects my reaction to what was going on on the television and how to make sense of it.

Notes taken whilst completing the rest of my experiments:

  • Drawing 3. Paint brushes and wiggly lines: masking on graph paper. Thinking of ‘edges’. Thinking to use the masking tape in a less conventional way, not simply to mask off areas but to be part of the mark making. Different sized paint brushes – adapted the word ‘wiggly’ lines to ‘less control lines’ (using long sticks to create marks) unpredictable. I feel that it is quite obvious that this drawing just feels nothing. I didn’t feel engrossed in the process nor am I pleased with the outcome. The masking areas didn’t really impact the drawing in anyway and feel that I might just put this one to one side.
  • Drawing 4. Modrock and dribbling: I nearly went to change this and then I thought I’m going to give it a go. You never know whats going to happen. I’m really trying to stretch myself out of that comfort zone and not control the exploration within my work. Started to think about the symbol of the colour red.
  • Drawing 5. Sticks & straight lines: I really like the idea of the physicality of drawing. Making something have a presence. It could be the impact it has on a viewer or its actual physical presence. This idea of physicality and presence co-insides with my interest in people in the worlds and the impact on society. Whether its like my first drawing with shapes and pen demonstrating political turmoil , western its the idea of blood and a cast flattened on paper, whether its a landscape that has been imprinted. The drawing could also relate to a more family setting or wider world. All people impact on society and the world somehow. Whether its through working in government or charities, saving the world.
  • The repetition of the sticks – wars/the blur of society. Reminds me ofd the wall between Mexico and America. (ive been watching a lot of news lately, can you tell?)
  • I keep forgetting to mask areas off!!!!!!
  • Taken a side step from the exercise to stop and explore the physicality of drawing, creating more of an object. I liked using the brown paper and then decided to use the mod rock to get a stronger sense of that physicality. However because the mod rock is a heavier material than the brown paper it started to collapse the paper. From this I decided to be selective in where I used the mod rock so I could also still have visible areas of the brown paper.
  • my urge for the coast as my tutor mentioned – the mod rock can be seen as the rocks on the beach. The red is the sea. Links to blood – referring to Louise Bourgeois family link – mother.
  • Embryo – the oval shape of the drawing – maybe need to do some site work. Observational drawings on site. Maybe take this ‘mother’ idea forward and collaborate something with mum when I am down for Christmas? Again looking at the physicality of drawing.
  • Onto relief drawing and tea/coffee. I think perhaps to do this you need to use a material to get the relief – like frontage so i’m going to use oil pastel and then try coffee/tea on top. I am trying not to tie myself down with a subject matter as such so even though i’ve had the above ideas I am still trying to remain encompassed within the processes I am using.
  • (just something I remembered to write for the red sea – reverting my mind back to the idea it is meant to be about process. The drip work from the mod rock can be bought back into the piece as the effect it gave is quite different and makes me think of the salt in the sea or the sand on the beach. Also thinking of the seaside as a place of reflection and contemplation).
  • Quickly looked at relief drawing online to make sure I have the right understanding and found something called relief shading. Perhaps this could be for my labour drawing.
  • The rubbing. I am just LOVING the discoveries that are unraveled during the drawing process. What I am able to identify and realise whilst drawing is amazing.
  • Some parts that I could not rub over e.g. more delicate parts like nails/hooks in a wall, I went round the obstacle which almost emphasised those smaller details in the drawing. I really liked this quickly and idea of the physical act of feeling enables you to highlight the smaller delicate details.
  • LINKS: beach – blood – place I grew up – geographical physiological – family. Maybe this needs to be for assignment 5 and for this part I need to focus on the process.
  • Thinking of getting to some rock pools (Brighton)
  • I like the idea of collaboration with mum (how about a sketchbook that we post back and forth to each other. Like a visual diary)
  • Want my drawings to have a physical presence
  • Finding my place in society. Drawings finding theirs
  • I think I am getting too overwhelmed with all the various ideas (as usual) and processes. My tutor said ‘If you feel like you just need to do something, just do it otherwise it will be hanging over you’.
  • So I feel that now I have some sort go idea I need to take it and run with it. My only concerns that will be process be the main point of production – so I need to keep this in mind.
  • Experience of place – maybe the place doesn’t have to have any connection but i can base my art on it?! – but then thinking about the book I’ve recently read ‘One place to another’ do I need to have some sort of relationship to it. Maybe for the final piece but simply to study the rocks, take photos and do some preliminary drawings I think will be fine.

14/12/18 PLAN:

  • Finish off doing some drawings fro exercise 4.1 focusing on the process
  • Then plan what I am going to do for Brighton.


  • Rubbings of the rocks
  • Various sketches
  • Bleach some polaroids
  • Highlight smaller details – shells on the beach


  • going to lay the family interest to rest for now and focus on the landscape of Brighton beach
  • Use various materials and processes to get as much information as I can from the site – almost like a scientist taking specimens and then taking them back to the lab to discover genes etc.
  • Thinking of my note of the beach being a place of reflection and contemplation. – material to show this tinfoil?
  • The charcoal and watercolour create a dirty edge which I quite like and will be good for drawing the rocks
  • The rest of the pairs I will try when I return from my Brighton trip: dirt & pouring. Masking tape & body actions. Food colouring & dripping.

So from what I have completed so far, I am looking at what I can take forward with me and explore with at the rock pools.

  • rubbing and oil pastel
  • Sand and dripping with ink
  • Printing with stuff I find
  • Complete a mini sculpture of the rock pools using mod rock
  • Tin foil over of the rock pools
  • Frottage on wallpaper
  • Sketches in zig-zag book
  • Bleach beach polaroid

I think this will give me something to base the experiments on.

My reflection on my trip to Brighton:

When I arrived in Brighton I took a bus down to Rottingdean beach which is where the rock pools were located. Once I got to Rottingdean I was really looking forward to getting started. The rock pools were on mass and it was so peaceful and quiet with no-one around. I set myself up on the rock pools and started drawing what was around me. There were some beautiful white cliffs which I drew first and then I started to focus my attention on one particular rock. I felt that drawing the whole landscape was going to be a bit overwhelming. I found, as usual, the more I looked at this rock the more I saw and my drawing kept changing. However I started to become frustrated as I wanted to explore the landscape. I didn’t want to sit and draw one rock. I decided that I would complete some prints of some smaller details and printed some seaweed and shells, rolled stones etc. I completed some rubbings of the rock to discover a little more about its identity and hoped that this would help me with my drawing. The rock was so textured across its surface that all the little details, like I had identified in the studio, were not coming through as much as I hoped. The surface of the paper didn’t pick up any particular details and I wasn’t completely convinced that the rubbings imitated the surface of a rock. At this point I had come to halt and felt deflated in my work. I chose to pack away my drawing tools and went for a walk with my camera and polaroid camera, looking closely at various shells and growths on the rocks and in the pools.

After lunch I decided that I would try and get a base to work from for exercise 4.2 labour and time. My plan for this was to use the roll of newspaper print over the the rock pools and manipulate the paper around the rocks. The paper would then occupy the physicality of these rocks. However I had two problems with this, firstly the rocks were very wet, covered in wet seaweed and secondly I didn’t have enough newspaper print. I liked the idea of a long horizontal piece imitating the idea of landscape. With this in mind I thought about using my zig zag sketchbook. I decided to unravel the sketchbook and place it on the pebble beach. The sketchbook pages would have been to small to gather any physical information from the rocks as they were too big. I wanted the pages to posses a smaller physical form so that I could then complete my cross hatching, relief shading in parts of it. I crumpled the paper, almost wrapping it around the pebbles, to take the physical form into my paper. This in itself was the start of my process and labour. It is evident that the sketchbook pages took on the intense labour process as pages were ripped to be able to go around the pebbles. I am really excited to take this forward and start drawing onto the pages.

As stated above, my trip to Brighton, which wasn’t as successful as I hoped although I did plan my drawing fro my next exercise, the only thing I was finding a little difficult was understanding the idea of process and materiality. I wanted to spend some more time on this exercise. I decided to have look and see if there were any artists that focused on the process of drawing within making art. I came across a blog/website called ‘Artist Network’ with an entry called ‘How different materials affect your drawing process’.

Drawing materials and processes:

‘I subscribe to the view of America’s greatest draftsman, Thomas Eakins, that drawing is a process of revision. You put down something, and then adjust this estimate toward greater accuracy as you work. Just remember to look closely at the model and draw lightly so that you can more easily erase later on.’ I really agree with this statement as when I complete my life drawings I am always changing the lines I have originally put down. Its good to hear that it is ok for your drawing to change and the first lines are not permanent.

‘If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that you shouldn’t try to make a material do something it can’t. Just as you can’t force a cat to bark or a dog to meow, it’s impossible to force your materials to do something against their essential nature.’ This is an interesting concept in getting a further understand for what this exercise is perhaps asking me to understand.

(Artists Network, 2017)

I also came across another website which was a website for a gallery which had a past exhibition called ‘Drawing as process in contemporary art’. The exhibition contained various artists that use drawing in various ways, whether it is ‘to brainstorm and experiment, to explore ideas, and to propose, hone, circulate, and chronicle their works in other media’. The artists that were part of this exhibition were; Mark Dion, Julia Fish, Carol Jackson, Kerry James Marshall, Richard Rezac, Erwin Wurm, and Zhang Huan. I chose to have a brief look at these artists work as there was no examples of their work on this website. I found some of their work hard to ‘fit into the category’ of drawing as process. I decided that I would not take some of the artists further such as; Kerry James Marshall, Zhang Huan.

(Smart Museum, 2007)

Mark Dion:

(Fine Arts Centre Gallery, 2011)

I discovered an exhibition of Mark Dion’s work called Process and Inquiry, which was a collection of his work made for a proposal of a public art piece, along with preparatory drawings.

Dion’s work explores ‘social, historical and contemporary representations of nature through collaborative models, group participation and experiments of co-evolution’.

‘His projects illuminate histories of aesthetics and science, examining continuities and ruptures between past and present practices of knowing, ordering, and classifying the material world.’

His artist research consists of evidence from various materials such as; journals, diaries, and other primary documents, Dion presents us with a keen sense of our contemporary moment.

‘Dion’s work challenges the depths and breadth of our own areas of interest and supposed expertise, including our own particular ethics of learning, teaching, and living.’

I searched the web to find some images of this exhibition but I couldn’t find any images that I could tell were definitely from this exhibition. However I have been to an exhibition of Dion’s at the Whitechapel gallery on a study visit this year. I remember noticing that his drawings, and was reminded of them when looking online, that they were completed in blue and red. I’m not sure of the the actual materials but all his drawings seemed to be in these colours. For me, I can only understand his use of these colours linked to his strong association with science and that it reminds me of veins or the blue resonates a ‘blueprint’ – a plan, an outline for something to be made. The aesthetics of the blue and red can also simply be seen that they stand out from one another.

In regards to drawing as process, I’m not sure that I can see the link to Mark Dion’s work in regards to the process being evident in the drawing. The process leading up to the drawing may be quite intensive but I am looking more towards the process being in the drawing itself as thats what I have found to be more interesting to me in regards to this exercise. Although I think the process that artists go through before they create a final outcome is also an interesting journey to uncover.

Figure 1. Mark Dion

Julia Fish:

‘Julia Fish’s work can be characterized as both site-generated and context-specific’. (David Nolan New York. s.d)

She develops her drawings and painting from close examinatinon of her ‘experience of living and working within her home and studio, a 1922 two-storey brick storefront in Chicago.’

‘Fish has described this process as one which “opens onto questions and critical approaches to the practice of painting, to drawing, and to the nuances and implications of representation / re-presentation.”’ My understanding of this is that during her process she is constantly questioning and challenging her approach to painting and drawing whilst deepening her understanding of the site, observing the fine details.

Her research consists of various disciplines of architecture, architectural history and theory.

(David Nolan New York. s.d)

As I was looking through Fish’s images of her work I noticed that I was particularly drawn to a selection of work she completed for an exhibition called ‘Threshold’. In this series of work she focuses on ‘various thresholds or transitional spaces’. The drawings and paintings initially appear as abstract compositions but are the result of the artist’s intense examination of the ‘passageways between adjacent rooms in her home’. The works ‘capture the visual information by the floor surface and doorjambs’.

She also has a strong interest in light which is evident in her work. ‘Lumine III – Northwest [Parhelion]’ painting began with the artist’s observation of a light fixture in her sleeping room.

‘The hexagonal openings of the two glass shades (which are rendered as ghostly forms in Study for Lumine II) are articulated along their six sides with different colors of the light spectrum. These halo-like forms are echoed across the field of the painting, in an effect resembling image flare caused by refracted light in a lens. The “Parhelion” of the title also refers the work to a 17th century painting by Jacob Elbfas, which depicts the fleeting celestial phenomenon of the appearance of multiple suns in the sky.’

(David Nolan New York. s.d) 

Julia Fish studies her surroundings by focusing on the smaller, finer, less obvious details that we don’t necessarily notice. I wonder if she is bringing our attention to these details, making us stop and appreciate their beauty or is her work a way of understanding her own immediate environment, something that she is so fascinated by. Her work reminds me and almost links to that of Anna Bariball’s imprints into the objects found in the interior. I have been considering her work as I have been completing my frontage pieces for this exercise.

Carol Jackson:

What immediately stood out to me as I saw her work was her use of the colour red. It was difficult to find any information on these series of work but they captured my eye. This series of the ‘red paintings’ are called ‘Satan’s Cue Card’. I think this is important to note, firstly because of the use of the red but also the digital images that are beneath the red are all photographs from various view points of a car crash (the car is also red). My thoughts go beyond this and I start to consider the artists outlook of what happened and if this is Satan’s doing? To me it looks like the red paint is taking over, encompassing the car. I find the red detail on top of the photograph quite overpowering, taking control. In some cases the red paint frames part of the digital image beneath but sometimes it is simply placed on top to which could be seen as red smoke, the arrival of Satan?

Some of the pieces have a lighter emphasis on the red paint layered on top others are almost completely covered.

Richard Rezac:

Rezac, uses drawing as a tool for planning his sculptures. Completed on graph paper Rezac draws in a fairly geometric way, making everything ‘fit’ together which can be seen in his final outcomes of his sculptures. The process of his drawings would be a more preliminary purpose working towards his final piece rather than the process being within the drawing itself.


Erwin Wurm:

‘Erwin Wurm is famous for the One Minute Figures and One Minute Sculptures that he has been making since the late 1980s. In these, he gives instructions to himself, a model or member of the public: the person is asked to perform a certain action, or to interact with an everyday object in a specific way.’

The process for this artist would be him, or a member of the public performing an action that he then documents with a photograph or drawing and then sometimes make them into sculptures.

(Xavier Hufkens, s.d)

‘Wurm often connects deeply emotional and psychological conditions to the human body as an ‘object’. In so doing, he deliberately challenges traditional forms and pushes them towards precarious states of distortion and tension’

This resonates with my work at the moment, of things that I am considering in regards to objects and creating a drawing into an object.

I found some interesting work and ideas to move forward with, with this artist research however I still feel I haven’t identified what drawing as a process actually is.

I decided to continue a little more with this exercise, this time working much smaller (this was something my tutor has mentioned I need to start doing). I decided to work directly into my sketchbook masking of grids to work in and explore with some of the materials I have used so far. I find it quite restricting to work small scale but it is also helpful to engage with the materials in a more delicate and intense way.

I found working on a smaller scale completely different to trying to make a piece that has to fit a larger surface. I could pay more attention to the smaller details which was a nice change. The pieces I liked working on the most were:

  • making an oil pastel base and then using a knife to create delicate marks by removing the oil pastel. Having a selection of marks like these on a huge piece of paper would look quite striking and labour intensive too
  • I enjoyed using the tipex (as a base like the oil pastel) scratching away at it and then I used watercolour on top which lifted the marks out, you could see them more clearly.
  • I an oil pastel and rolled it onto the page. I was intrigued from the marks that it made. I realised that the mark it was making was from the imprint of the rock pools in Brighton. this was an interesting idea of something imprinted on the actual drawing tool and then using it again to show the marks left behind


I worked into some of the drawings a little more after completing some research:

I thought about adding blue to the red smudged paint after looking at Mark Dion’s drawings. I rubbed blue oil pastel over the creases made from scrunching the paper. I liked that it highlighted the creases. The blue on the red was also making my eyes go funny. When looking at the piece it is really hard to focus on a single part, as the more you look at it, the harder it is to distinguish the marks. Now I might take this forward with me for the next exercise but also complete my shadow relief drawing but do the same sort of drawing in different ways. I’ve got a few ideas bubbling!


Artists Network. (2017) How different materials affect your drawing process. At: https://www.artistsnetwork.com/art-mediums/drawing/different-materials-affect-drawing-process/ (Accessed on 19 December 2018)

Smart Museum (2007) Drawing as process in contemporary art. At: https://smartmuseum.uchicago.edu/exhibitions/drawing-as-process-in-contemporary-art/ (Accessed on 19 December 2018)

Fine Arts Centre Gallery. (2011) Mark Dion: Process and Inquiry. At: http://www.fnargallery.com/new-gallery-1/ (Accessed on 19 December 2018)

David Nolan New York. (s.d) Julia Fish. At: http://www.davidnolangallery.com/artists/julia-fish?view=slider#3 (Accessed on 19 December 2018)

David Nolan New York. (2015) Julia Fish Threshold. At: http://www.davidnolangallery.com/exhibitions/julia-fish/exhibition-views?view=slider#8  (Accessed on 19 December 2018)

Xavier Hufkens (s.d) Erwin Wurm. At: http://www.xavierhufkens.com/artists/erwin-wurm (Accessed on 19 December 2018)


Figure 1. Dion, M. (2014) The Tropical Naturalist [red and blue pencil on paper] At: https://www.waldburgerwouters.com/labyrinth/labyrinthimages.html (Accessed on 19 December 2018)

Figure 2. Fish, J.(2002) [ shadow drawing for ] Living Rooms, NorthEast – two [gouache on paper] At: http://www.davidnolangallery.com/artists/julia-fish?view=slider#14 (Accessed on 19 December 2018)

Figure 3. Fish, J. (2016) Trace 2 : after Threshold, SouthEast – Two [ spectrum : orange with grey ] [ink on UV paper] At: http://www.davidnolangallery.com/artists/julia-fish?view=slider#3 (Accessed on 19 December 2018)

Figure 4. Fish, J. (2010, 2013) Trace 1: after Threshold, SouthEast [Spectrum: Yellow] [ink on UV paper] At: http://www.davidnolangallery.com/artists/julia-fish?view=slider#10 (Accessed on 19 December 2018)

Figure 5. Fish, J. (2014-2015) Threshold — Matrix : fragments  [ spectrum with grey ] [Transfer chalk and oil on canvas] At: http://www.davidnolangallery.com/artists/julia-fish?view=slider#5 (Accessed on 19 December 2018)

Figure 6. Fish, J. (2015; revised 2016) Study for Threshold — Matrix : fossil  [ spectrum : sample ] [ink on UV paper] At: http://www.davidnolangallery.com/artists/julia-fish?view=slider#4 (Accessed on 19 December 2018)

Figure 7. Jackson, C. (2014) Satan’s Cue Card 3. [digital print, enamel acrylic, nylon fiber, encaustic] At: https://www.artsy.net/artwork/carol-jackson-satans-cue-card-3 (Accessed on 19 December 2018)

Figure 8. Jackson, C. (2014) Satan’s Cue Card 5. [digital print, enamel acrylic, nylon fiber, encaustic] At: https://www.artsy.net/artwork/carol-jackson-satans-cue-card-5 (Accessed on 19 December 2018)

Figure 9. Jackson, C. (2014) Satan’s Cue Card 9. [digital print, enamel acrylic, nylon fiber, encaustic] https://www.artsy.net/artwork/carol-jackson-satans-cue-card-9 (Accessed on 19 December 2018)

Figure 10. Wurm, E. (2003) Seien Sie ein Hund für eine Minute (Be a Dog for a Minute) [felt tip on paper] At: https://www.artsy.net/artwork/erwin-wurm-seien-sie-ein-hund-fur-eine-minute-be-a-dog-for-a-minute  (Accessed on 19 December 2018)

Figure 11. Wurm, E. (2013) Green Bucket [acrylic, metal, paint, plastic bucket] At: http://www.xavierhufkens.com/artists/erwin-wurm  (Accessed on 19 December 2018)



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