I've recently come across a fantastic book on drawing (via Amazon the great enticer). Drawing Projects: an exploration of the language of drawing, is by Mick Maslen and Jack Southern. The book approaches drawing from, for me, really unusual angles, providing all sorts of activities for freeing up, trusting eye and hand, and developing types of mark and mark-making. There are also features on well-known artists to inspire.
I love to draw and often choose to work in pencil to create line drawings. For me, there is something delightfully spare and simple about using line to evoke a mood or a landscape. It highlights the rhythms of the vertical and the horizontal, the straight and the twisting, and the visual relationships between them.
This book has been great as I've been exploring line in landscape. One of the many ideas developed in Mick Maslen and Jack Southern's book is to draw without looking at the results produced on paper - you merely look very carefully at the object you are drawing and draw in response to what you see - no visual checking back or elaborating as you go along. All the time you feel very carefully what your pencil is doing and ask yourself whether what you feel relates directly to what you are seeing in front of you - but you don't look....
In later exercises, you are allowed to 'take a sneaky look' at your drawing as it progresses, perhaps for example to work out where to put your pencil in relation to what you've already drawn. Even then you spend only perhaps 10% of your time looking at your results on paper.
|Scots Pines and Silver Birches|
by Loch Clarack, Dinnet, Aberdeenshire
|Pencil drawing of birch trees and view across|
Loch Clarack - drawn taking a sneaky look
In contrast, the birch trees are fragile and random, reflecting the wild and unchanging nature of this landscape. Their leaves are fine and delicate and the slim trunks and branches twist at unusual angles and lean and interweave.
|Tree outlines Glen Tanar, Aberdeenshire - much drawn without looking,|
but I allowed myself one or two sneaky looks
It is impossible to draw every tree trunk, branch or leaf but this approach has seemed to help me suggest the mood and the random nature of growth, if nothing else. Whether I've achieved this in the drawings in this post I'm not sure, but they've been a pleasure to do.
I suspect, like all other art work, it's work in progress ...........