Exercise 1.7 Sources and Media
For this exercise I have collected the flowers, leaves and plants that I would like to draw with the aim to choose a source or small group of sources that I will enjoy drawing. I have chosen living things that I can observe first hand and capture the visual information from its many angles and perspectives. I note that I can work on a particular paper or scale if I choose and may make use of paper collage. My aim is also to be bold and experimental in my choice and to reflect back on what I have gain from drawing my archive textiles. To follow a technique that I might want to build on.
I have decided to use watercolours to depict my leaves as I like the effect of the paint on the watercolour paper. I want to use graphite, charcoal and pencil to depict the seed pods as I will do rubbings of the seed pods too. I will use a gelli plate to print images of leaves on bank paper and also use sun dyed fabric. I love printing so thought I could combine with the requirements of this exercise!
In Australia we have a fabulous artist John Wolseley who arrived here from England in 1976. A comment I like about his work (Sasha Grishin, 2015, ‘John Woolsely Land Marks 111’, Thames and Hudson, p9) ‘ much of Wolsely’s art has involved a search for a formal language through which he could express the unique peculiarity of the Australian Environment. Wolseley depicts various aspects of the Australian bush including leaves and seedpods using a variety of media including watercolour, woodcut, linocut, graphite pastel, coloured crayon and charcoal. This has influenced my chose of media for this exercise also.
Wolseley camps in the bush deliberately to break down the conceptual and physical barrier between the artist and the nature. He keeps a journal to record amongst other things his botanical and zoological observations. His work from a camp might include aerial observations, cartographic marks and notes on geological formations combined with studies of minute flora and rocks. A different approach to landscape art. I am particularly drawn to his flora studies, for example, lichens in Tasmania. Grishin (p17) comments that ‘Wolseley makes no attempt to persuade us that what we have before us is an authoritative reading of nature; we have a collection of evocative observations which introduces us to a certain slice of wilderness and which prompts us to see the world differently.’
Wolseley also employs rubbings of paper on rock surfaces to capture the textures, or the actual bark or insects found on location, or the effect of drawing of the soil once the paper has been buried in the ground, animal tracks of a platypus made on his sheet of paper to incorporate into his work. Taking it further I can try to conceptualise how collage and stitch can be applied in this approach – very easily I think!
So what does this mean to me? Simplistically it means I would love to do a road trip into the Australian bush and record the leaves and seedpods I come into contact with in my chosen locality. In reality I live in suburban south east Queensland (Brisbane) and am not able to do a road trip at this time. But I can think about how the leaves and seedpods I select fit into my environment and landscape as I work.
I have reviewed my approach to Drawing over the last few months and tried to be ‘freerer’ in my approach. I have obtained a copy of Mick Maslen and others ,2014,”Drawing Projects: An Exploration of the Language of Drawing”, and read parts. I have also bought an ebook of Kim Nicolaides, “The Natural Way to Draw”. I think this book looks interesting and will read as quickly as I can. I feel there is so much to learn and it is so motivating but I need to just do it in terms of my Assignment!!
Sasha Grishin, 2015, ‘John Woolsely Land Marks 111‘, Thames & Hudson