Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Smell and feel as you draw

On Saturday I spent a focused two hours at Flatford Mill.  My friend, painter Ruth Philo, was holding a walk draw along the banks of the river.  We began by emptying our minds of all that we brought to the session.  Ruth suggested writing words but instead I looked at the bridge and put a few strokes of colour down.  I worked in a little bound book I started years ago in Maine.  It is about 4 x 5" and I have recoloured the pages with pastel.

The group was all artists and we all were attracted to our particular motifs so split up and found a space. We were given an amount of time to use but most of us ignored the time and were surprised when we had to regroup so quickly. Ruth came over to me while I was drawing this first drawing and spoke about the blue space beyond.  It's that betweenness that I am attracted to, I told her.  Ruth was able to identify the subconscious stuff that happens before I even begin.

During our walk draw, Ruth talked about the smells, the feel, getting those kinds of details down.  I suppose it's a subconscious thing with me, but would bringing that to the fore help? Can you feel the grass in the pastel, I wondered.
Are there memories associated with the landscape that take you in a particular direction, to a particular place? What do you want to remember about the walk?
In this last quick sketch I was aware of time and I wasn't feeling the landscape in the same way. There isn't even air.

Beads Like Eggs,  pastel on paper, 6 x 6 
Hudson went back on Sunday and on Monday the Easter eggs were the most obvious trace of his visit. I hadn't been able to work much in the studio while he was home. So as I began again, I felt I needed complexity and I wanted to revisit the necklaces. I tried to feel the edges of the eggs, to think about dipping them, to feel the hat on my head, the necklace around my neck, to draw the bulk and the sheerness of the varous cloths. I was back to the nest. The colours came from the eggs, eggs made by the three of us. But as I drew I knew that I was a bit stifled by the colour and it didn't make sense without a lot of detail.

Scented Stocks, pastel on paper, 6 x 6
On Sunday I bought some flowers on sale.  I put them all together and my studio has been smelling of scented stocks since then. This time I wanted to capture the smell, or at least the joy of the smell.  I didn't want to get trapped by the muddy green of the vase so before I began I decided on a different colour for it. I made a nest on the chair and balance the jug on it.  

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