Aims of The Exercise
1. To create some unusual, temporary drawings using different media.
2. To reflect on the process
It was great fun wandering around looking for ways of creating temporary drawings. I found a layer of dust that had accumulated on a pile of old frames waiting to be given another life. A problem immediately presented itself: what to draw??
I ended up drawing a simple smiley face – the kind you might draw on a dirty car!!
As an image it was rather unsatisfactory, too much of a caricature so I altered it to a screaming face by swirling away the dust in the eyes and mouth (Munch’s ” The Scream’ came to mind).
Swirling the dust was very satisfying and so I took it to the extreme and started swirling over the entire image, leaving a ghostly rather sinister face floating behind in the dust. I particularly liked the way that the disturbed dust clumped and forms part of the image. Next I headed to the bathroom taking some golden syrup with me. I drizzled the syrup from a spoon onto the white bottom of the bath. As syrup is quite viscous there was always an initial blob followed by a stream that got thinner as the syrup ran out.
It was quite hard to control but the patten produced varied with thickness of syrup stream and speed of my hand. A thin stream (producing a fast flow rate) and slow hand speed resulted in a zig-zagging line, whereas a thicker stream (slower flow rate) and a fast hand movement produced a smooth line. The patterns produced were not stable, the syrup flowed sideways and the zig zag patterns became a series of small pools of syrup like beads on a string. I tried the same idea with different colours of shower gel and shampoo. These liquids were more ‘gel; like that the syrup and didn’t flow in the same way.
I ended up squeezing them out and moving the substances around with my fingers. The phone rang in the middle of this part of the exercise. I found it hard to get back into what I was doing after I had answered it. Randomly moving the gels around was not very satisfying, however after a while I created a sort of flower with some very pretty pastel shades. Unfortunately my photo was not in focus and the strong light was casting interesting shadows on the bath!
Next I headed outside and drew with my finger a rough outline of a plant in a pot on the patio. The paving slab was quite rough and I was surprised at how much water it took to create an image.
Even though the weather was not warm, the sun was shining brightly and there was quite a breeze resulting in the image fading and within 10 just shows a ghost of the original image was visible. Heading back inside I shook some flour onto a baking tray and drew a geometric pattern of circles.
I loved the way the flour heaped up at the edge of my fingers creating a 3-D image.
When I had photographed the image I shook the flour around the tray to create another ‘canvas’. This time I created a spiral pattern.
When I have finished with this I shook the flour again and noticed that where the flour had stuck to the (presumably slightly greasy tray) a negative of the spiral had been created which was very pleasing! This reminded me of a child’s ‘etch-a-sketch’ which works of the similar principle of shaking away a drawn image of iron filings and was moved to dig out my kid’s ‘megasketch’. This creates images in a similar way to an ‘etch-a-sketch’ but instead of shaking the image away, you wipe it away with a mechanical handle. This has the advantage of being able to move the handle down only part way, retaining the drawing below it. I created the following sequence in this way, by partially wiping away the doodles (simple cross-hatching patterns) to build up a bigger picture. In the final photo, some memory of the original cross-hatching can be seen (albeit faintly in the photograph).
I really enjoyed this whole exercise, it gave me a feeling of freedom, permission to let myself go. I had to stop myself continuing for hours . It was also nice to make a mess! I was reminded of finger painting with my children. I didn’t’ mind that my drawings were temporary. I actually got a bizarre satisfaction from watching the shower gel wash down the plug afterwards. I also loved the idea that ‘ghosts’ or ‘negatives’ of images stayed around longer. I did find it hard to choose what to draw. I feel that I was not very good at opening myself up to ideas and when I did, they were fairly basic: a smiley face or simple doodle patterns. However I think that once these simple images were formed I found ways of adjusting and altering them (either physically myself or allowing natural processes to affect the images) which gave these temporary drawings an organic feel.
What I learnt
1. I should try new approaches and to use different mediums and materials
2. Emotion matters
3. I am more at home drawing geometic patterns than random ‘scribbles’
4. Don’t answer the phone mid-project – it ruins the concentration and the ‘mood’
5. Photographing your artwork is harder than you think.
6. Writing a blog takes a long time and I don’t know how to embed images very effectively!