60 x 80 cms
Luminance & Museum Aquarelle pencils on Canson pastel board.
Own reference & imagination.
I recently began a large drawing that is as much about the history of Tasmania (Australia) as it is about its landscape. The drawing is almost finished, but I had to step back and take a break because I found the subject emotionally draining. I won’t go into specific details at this stage, but I was aware of the impact that my particular subject was having on me each day that I stood at the easel. The solution?
I decided to undertake a drawing that was the complete opposite, a ‘fun’ piece that would enable me to draw what I felt like, where I liked and when I liked. That’s how it started. I chose ‘parts’ of some of my recent work featuring bold colours and varied shapes, drawing them ‘randomly’ onto a half sheet of pastel board (60 x 80 cms). I joined the various sections together with some imaginative license, to end up with one complete drawing, but with many parts. The aim was to have little or no rules and just to rely on my own judgment when it came to composition and choice of colours. Freedom at last! Or was it?
A few days later and I was off to Cairns for a week. I returned last Saturday, well rested and keen to continue my latest drawing. There it stood on the easel half-finished as I had left it, waiting for more layers of coloured pencils. Two days later and the drawing was completed, but what happened in those last 2 days was in stark contrast to the sessions I spent before my trip away.
Freedom or ‘Free Choice’ work seems a sure-fire successful task to undertake in art, but it’s not. For such work one has to rely on experience (that breeds imagination) and that can only occur if one has worked in a disciplined way for a number of years including some form of art training. The greatest danger is falling into the trap of repetition on these occasions. One draws what one knows, the more one knows, the more choice one has when ‘free choice’ drawing.
My problem was that the further I went with this drawing the more concerned I became with composition, focal point, tone and balance. It got to the stage where I had to flip the board over after the drawing was finished, because the drawing was upside down! Despite all of this, I enjoyed the experience/challenge and I’m pleased with the result.
Maybe in future though when undertaking this type of art I should employ a ‘Controlled Freedom’ approach.