Following feedback from my tutor (see in reflection) that this was a time based exercise and not an outcome based exercise… and that I didn’t have evidence of the process on my original ‘Warm-up’ entry I have done another one with evidence.
My idea was that my drawing would be a physical record of a Summer walk.
I picked flowers and grasses from by the path…
Then ran a bowl of water… and added washing up liquid to make the surface more interesting…
This created interesting bubbles, broke up the reflection of the light and reduced the surface sheen revealing the dirty bottom of the bowl.
Now I was going to add the beauty… my Summer walk. First the grasses and white flowers. I thought the grasses would give it some lines and structure…I was lighting it from one side with an angle poise light. This was already more interesting. I liked the simplicity and the 3D ness where the stalks disappeared into the water… on this they could be 2D lines but as we know how a seed head works read them as having depth. The picture place becomes 3D which is interesting as this is a drawing not a sculpture. The flowers are ‘captured’ in the surface.
The shadows on the bottom of the bowl also become part of the drawing. And begin to add a dappling effect.
Next I added some brilliant white petals as highlights… This took the focus back to the surface.
I love the way the petals turn in different directions and the delicate lacy (tiny) flower isolated in the seed head top left. It also changed the colour of the elderflower and made it look ‘greeny’ white. This made me think how adding one dab of colour in a whole drawing could change the way you see all the colours.
Next I added all the yellow flowers.
Suddenly it leapt to life and started to sing. The yellow harmonised with the greeny white of the florets and bounced the eye round the drawing.
It was simple yet I could almost hear the birds sing!
When I was adding the flowers I did it intuitively.
Next I added the brown seed heads.
This darkened it and made it a bit fussy. On one level it had the complexity of a natural hedgerow on the other some of the life had been taken away.
I didn’t like the dark brown seed head at the top reflected in the water as this made the picture plane the water surface (flowers floating in water) whereas in the rest of it it’s not exactly clear where the picture plane is which is much more interesting and ambiguous. More like the real hedgerow.
If I edit that seed head out you can see what I mean…
The picture plane is not obviously the surface of water – I think the washing up liquid helped as it stopped the surface reflecting.
Now came flowers with red and blue mixed…this included pink and purple. The petals became my palette. Instead of mixing pigments to copy flowers the flowers became the pigment which felt really cool.
It’s difficult to explain but it released the colours rather than the colours being imprisoned by trying to copy another colour.It’s just a shame the light was so poor as the bottom half of the drawing loses colour… a bit like the sun setting. Which it was…
So this temporary drawing also shows the passage of time.
(But if I could photoshop maybe they could be enhanced… but that would defeat the object as what I like about this warm up is that it is free and natural.)
Finally… my imaginary walk was over and I was in the house. The hit of the flowers and birdsong faded so I videoed tipping the bowl of flowers down the sink…
But an impression is left… the beauty stays with you. And here’s the last photograph of the flowers in the sink. I like the way there’s a little residue of the washing up liquid in the foam… which was invisible for the whole of the temporary drawing.
This was a fantastic exercise to do and the reflection really made me think about it.
The way colours affect other colours , the way thoughts affect how we see, how even outcome based drawings have a process… and how the experience of the painting and the experience of the seeing, hearing, feeling that went into it are all part of the final drawing.