Prev
Writing page 4
Next


Doing My Artwork

Page menu:

When I am Drawing or Painting

My Attitudes to Producing Artwork

The Main Themes Behind my Paintings and Drawings

About Abstract Images

Entries from my Microcosm project: Drawing and Painting at the Tree:

Why work outdoors?

Dressing for the Weather

My Studio Under the Canopy

The Changing Light

Orientation of the Drawing to the Subject, and to the Sunlight

Using the Right Kind of Stool

Remembering My Sitting Positions

Using a Mahl Stick

Using Charcoal

Needing to Use a Drawing Board with No Cover

Toilet Breaks

 

Separate module:

Development of a Major Drawing


Back to writing menu page


 

When I am Drawing or Painting

When I am outside working on a drawing or painting directly from the living world in front of me, I feel a close connection with that real world, and a closer connection with ‘worthwhile life’. That is, I feel that I am doing something worthwhile, even though I may never finish the picture (as others may expect a picture to be considered to be finished). It’s the doing, the careful observation, the analysis of what I am experiencing, and the responding that are most important aspects of doing artwork (not completing pictures for sale).

When I am drawing or painting I respond to the world around at a higher level than I would otherwise do so. There is a switch inside that comes on. Everything then takes on a marvellous positive energy. Petty personal concerns are no longer important. The most important concerns are trying to capture things felt while experiencing the world around me.

I have many means of expression at my fingertips. I look for the most appropriate, the most sensible, and the one that feels ‘right’.

One has to learn to listen to and to follow their feelings. There is a constant interplay going on between intellect and emotion. Anyone can learn to draw. One must just look objectively at things and analyse the relationships between the various parts within a particular scene. One needs to analyse the real image in front of them and make judgments about the construction they have made. There are always relationships between different parts of the real image experienced. Those relationships should also be present in your construction. These relationships can be used as checks for previous judgments. All along the process, one must periodically step back and look at the whole construction, to reflect on the original intentions of the piece, and to feel the result of what they have done. Is it heading towards where you wanted to go?

One must learn to view their work with objective eyes, and not get caught up in their ego. I think this is probably going to be a good practice for most things in life. Just because you have done it and found it exciting, doesn’t necessarily make it exciting for anyone else.

There needs to be a distinction made between work done for yourself, and work done for others to enjoy – important – need to apply this distinction earlier in this discussion.

Analysis of the things around me, helps with analysis of my own work, which helps with the analysis of the things I experience around me, etc.

What is life, if not a journey?


Back to page menu | Back to writing menu

 


 

My Attitudes to Producing Artwork

I want to do some positive things with the time and energy I have. We don’t all get the same opportunities in our lives; I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to produce some serious artwork – I am proud of what I have attempted and achieved so far.

Producing artwork is something that I see as a personal freedom, tied very much into my understanding of life. Naturally there are many other influences on those basic principles, such as:

  • the artwork of other artists (their remarkable images, what they were trying, what they felt was important in their artwork, etc.)

  • the notions held by the society I live in pertaining to the creation of artwork (or pertaining to doing just about anything. For example, most people I come across expect that I’m producing something to sell – I’m not, but I do like to make a connection with other people through my artwork. I generally find that most people in my society don’t easily consider subtle aspects of their lives, and don’t readily want to look beyond the popularist world presented to them from advertisers, and the mainstream entertainment industry. How much of that popularist world do I need to acknowledge to enable my pieces to be appreciated by other people?)

  • needing to juggle compromises between important aspects of production, such as:

    • the amount of time available to me

    • problems of working directly from a dynamic world that is constantly and often changing quickly

    • the requirements of the materials and media I use

    • transporting equipment

    • finding a suitable subject and comfortable place to work from, etc.

 

I have always enjoyed drawing, especially responding directly to real subjects. I especially value the simplicity and power of drawing.

While growing up, I enjoyed looking at reproductions of paintings and drawings by famous artists. Highly influential to me are the works of Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet, but I find the work and ideas of many, many artists inspiring and/or interesting, e.g. Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Picasso, Horace Trenerry, Fred Williams, and Sydney Nolan.

I started my working career as a Graphic Artist, using my artistic skills, discipline and ‘sensibilities’ to realise other people’s ideas. This led me to thinking that I should be using my skills and ‘sensibilities’ to realise my ideas. Thus began a purposeful journey of personal discovery, and personal expression.

Working on things that I choose has been an interesting thing for me to look at. What things do I consider really important, or worthwhile? I found that these sorts of questions weren’t easy to answer. I realised in my early twenties that I hadn’t been encouraged to think in this way – to consider my self. In my society, one is considered to be negatively selfish to do such a thing. One is really only encouraged to consider what the “majority” wants (and I now know that this “majority” is generally only a concept designed to subordinate individuals to the desires of a few powerful people). I began to see a real tension between being an individual and being a member of a society – a society that promises much, but in reality is disappointing in many ways. Because I want to mainly work on positive pieces, I have generally opted to steer clear of getting into issues about my society in my artwork. Instead, I’ve tried to take a wider view of myself and the world. I see myself as being an observer, a traveler and a thinker, living in the greater world in which people and societies are only [largely insignificant] subsets. I readily enjoy what are termed “simple” things, like the spectacle of light and colour coming off a tree’s foliage in full sunlight, with a clear blue sky above.

I am a person who enjoys observing the ‘natural world’ of sunlight, clouds, mountains, trees, landforms, flowers, rocks, the sea, the dynamic effects of different light and weather conditions, etc. I feel more alive and engaged in ‘living’ when I am producing artwork (visual compositions) based on interactions with ‘natural world’ subjects (a positive form of engagement with an extremely complex, highly dynamic, multi-dimensional world of virtually infinite detail). I have found it very satisfying trying to record some of the visual relationships, colours, light, and multi-dimensionality that I’ve experienced and analysed.

I want to show some of the poetry I feel within the beautiful world I see around me.

Generally though, I enjoy working outside, directly from nature, from things that are usually lit with sunlight. I like to use natural elements and scenes from my local surroundings, because they are rich, and convenient. I like to work on scenes that I know well, that I’ve observed many times, in different conditions, and I also enjoy working with scenes that I don’t know well. It usually doesn’t matter how well I may think I know a scene, there will always be surprises to be experienced and things to reflect on. I have learnt a lot about the world around me, and about myself, from reflecting on the things I've experienced outside.

Working almost exclusively outside, means that sounds, smells, comfort, coldness, warmth, and interactions with other people all play a part in producing my drawings, paintings and written notes. Being outside is a very important part of the whole thing, amongst trees, and birds, and the whole natural world. Working outside in Australia means contending with exposure to the dangerous sun. I almost always pick a spot to work from that will be in the shade (or mainly shade). I have not attempted many paintings and drawings that I would have liked to attempt, because I haven’t been able to find a suitable place to work on them from. Even so, there have been a few exceptions in recent times. Working in the full sun is not recommended, and very risky. I have come away with little patches of badly sun-burnt skin, where I’ve either missed covering them with protective cream, or sweated the cream off , etc. It also seems to be harder to concentrate when you’re in the full hot sun.

No matter what local social situation we might find ourselves in, we all live within what is called ‘the natural world’. Gaining understanding of this ‘natural world’ provides me with a genuine perspective on many of life’s mysteries and important questions. From this, I have gained a clear sense of who I am, and of truth about life in the universe, etc.

I like the abstract power (and the great freedom it contains) of putting together a two-dimensional image (a visual composition) that could express anything I want. One has to work within physical limitations in creating an image (e.g. the gamut of available colour and tone of the media used, the chosen artwork size and shape, available time, etc.) but no matter what limitations there may be, the ‘impossible’ is always possible. I enjoy the fact that paintings and drawings are otherwise totally impractical things – their main value lies within the interpretation of the images they contain.

I value accurate observation and analysis of the things before me, and most of my drawings and paintings have a base of accurately observed depiction of a multi-dimensional world onto a 2 dimensional surface. The analysis, observation and accurate recording are very important to me from a truth point of view, and for learning about the subtleties within the things around me. I like thinking about the things I see and experience around me, seeking relationships, understanding, looking for patterns, and generally exploring things afresh as if I’ve come across them for the first time. I enjoy going out with fresh eyes, finding a pleasant or moving subject to draw, and then drawing it as faithfully as I can. I sometimes use pictorial devices I’ve developed to help me work more quickly and fluently.

I often use a ‘scientific method’ approach in the production of my artwork, for expressing ‘feelings’. I firstly look at how I might produce the expressions required from a range of possible approaches, and from my past experience. I form hypotheses, attempt to act on them and then scrutinise the results against the original intended expressions as to how they worked. I may then formulate further hypotheses, act on them, scrutinise the results, etc., thus continuing the process until I reach a result that ‘feels right’.

I have spent a lot of time looking at how we see or perceive things, and this is hopefully reflected in much of my artwork. I’ve looked into how we usually see, with two images combined in the brain to form a 3 dimensional world. I have carried out many experiments into the generation of 3-dimensional space, using two images. I have a very good understanding of classical perspective, and have created new perspective systems, as required. Many of my drawings are based on structure, form and trying to achieve a particular sense of space. I have always found vast open areas exhilarating, stunning.

I am always moved by the beauty and richness of sunlight. I personally feel that there have been few artists who have expressed real sunlight and natural (breathing) space successfully.

I want to produce pieces that are positive and honest in their nature. I would like to be able to produce pieces that provide the viewer with the whole experience of the scene that I have encountered - the feelings I’ve felt, the sounds I’ve heard, the smells I’ve smelt, the sense of presence, etc. - but that’s not easy! - and it requires considerable work from the viewer as well. I’m not going to say that such a thing is impossible, because the human mind is an amazing thing, and who knows! I’ll be happy if my images can convey enough of the experiences I’ve encountered to have viewers feel that the pieces are positive, worthwhile, and evocative of similar experiences they have encountered.

I hope to inspire others with my artwork.

Back to page menu | Back to writing menu

 



The Main Themes Behind my Paintings and Drawings

Looking back through my body of artwork, one can pick out consistently reappearing subjects, or themes. This isn’t really surprising to me, because I know when I start many pieces that I am trying to express similar things to what I have tried before. Typically, I am trying to express something similar because I am moved by a similar feeling to that which I felt when I attempted the earlier pieces. Sometimes I am trying to express something similar but using a different approach, and sometimes trying something similar simply because it is similar, but not the same (and perhaps because I haven't attempted to express that feeling for a while) - The driving inspiration is what’s important.

Extremely important to me is painting or drawing subjects that are real and free, that are breathing, moving, rich, changing to unhindered forces. I especially value freedoms such as:

  • the warm glow of sunlight;

  • foliage or grass moving in the breeze;

  • areas of trees, shrubs, flowers and grasses growing naturally;

  • the sea, constantly moving, changing, flowing;

  • clouds, moving, growing and decaying across the sky.

Many of my paintings and pastels are based on colour. I enjoy bright, relating colours. I have tried to use colour for expressing light, for expressing relationships between local colours, for expressing emotions, and for expressing personal ideas.

I have found that depictions of sunlight, and 3-dimensional form and space have been very important themes in my artwork.

Following is a listing of themes that I decided on for my CD-Rom Gallery production:

General ‘theme’: Specific ‘themes’ that I decided on for my CD-Rom Gallery production:
Carefully observed relationships

Still-life

Self-portrait

Recording accurately observed colours

Recording observed shapes and structures

Recording accurately observed tones

Buildings in the sun

Colour

The colours and feeling of sunlight

Sunlight changes throughout the day

The joy of colours

Sunset and Dawn

The time just before sunset

Space and form

Interesting arrangements of form in the landscape

Trying to express very tall things, reaching into the sky

Inspiring space within the landscape

Vast space

The vastness and inspiration within the night sky

Interesting forms within trees

Interesting forms within the human body

Wide-angle view of an interior

A world that breathes and changes

An inspiring place to be at

The joy of just responding to the landscape

A world that breathes and changes

Foliage and grass moving in the breeze

Clouds, moving across the sky

The beach and the sea

Abstraction

Expression of a concept

Abstract art, based on pleasing arrangements of visual elements

Abstract art, based on gestural movement

Poetry

Poetry within the landscape

Simplifying the landscape, based on patterns

Flowers

Back to page menu | Back to writing menu

 


 

About Abstract Images

The vast majority of music we enjoy is similar to abstract art. We don’t expect to hear mainly recorded sounds of our everyday lives when we listen to music (as we might expect to see mainly recognisable real-world scenes within the visual art we see). We instead expect to hear an emotionally moving composition of relationships (abstract relationships).

For me, there are two basic intentions for creating abstract artwork. One is to explore and play with the relationships of abstract pictorial elements, such as line, colour, shape, direction, texture, tone, gradation, composition, balance, etc., to gain a better understanding of visual communication and emotional connections. The other is to use my understanding of visual elements to pro-actively express a particular idea or emotional situation.

What I’m mainly looking for in my abstract explorations, are pleasing relationships of basic picture elements. These explorations are mostly trial and error sessions, deliberating on, and responding to the various combinations of elements that develop within the overall images. The feelings from my visual understanding and subconscious become important for determining what might “work”, or what might “not work”. I have found computers to be marvellous tools for exploring abstract visual relationships. I can produce many elements quickly, and explore different combinations of elements using a medium that doesn't require additional physical materials such as paint, boards, brushes, etc. I can save multiple states of ideas and working, and easily compare and reflect on those saved states afterwards.

When I’m deliberately trying to express an emotional state or idea, development continues until those expressions are felt to have been met successfully, through deliberate attempts at controlling aspects of abstract elements, such as interactions of colour, interactions of shapes, etc.. Often, a pleasing overall combination of elements is also sought.

Back to page menu | Back to writing menu

 

Entries from my Microcosm project: Drawing and Painting at the Tree

Almost all of the drawing and painting done in this project was done outside, on-site at the tree.

 


Why work outdoors?

When I am outside working on a drawing or painting directly from the living world in front of me, I feel a close connection with that real world, and a closer connection with ‘worthwhile life’. That is, I feel that I am doing something worthwhile, even though I may never finish the picture (as others may expect a picture to be considered to be finished). It’s the doing, the careful observation, the analysis of what I am experiencing, and the responding that are most important aspects of doing artwork (not completing pictures for sale).

Some of the rewards of working outside in more detail:

  • One is truly, and immediately responding to the real world: a rich, complex, interwoven and dynamic world, changing constantly, full of interesting stimuli – a relevant world that affects us all.

  • One can look at subjects from different angles, get closer or further away, and experience subjects under different conditions to gain a better understanding of them.

  • One picks up on different aspects when responding directly from a subject, rather than by responding to a photograph or other static image. It’s a bit like the difference between experiencing a real piece of artwork, and a good photograph of the same piece of artwork (the colours and tones are not quite the same, the surface is not the same, etc.).

  • The enjoyment of being outside amongst the rich world of changing stimuli, experiencing new or amazing things is a reward in itself – I feel like I am truly participating in life, doing one of the richest activities available to any living being. Even the trips going to or from the subject bring rewards of various spectacles or interesting things experienced.

  • The satisfaction of successfully managing the many challenges of producing artwork outside, often over several months of work.

Some of the challenges of working outside in more detail:

  • not working in a controlled environment – for being comfortable, for concentrating on one’s work. One needs to manage many things: e.g. the effects of different weather (it can be very hot, or cold, windy, or wet if it rains), the changing light (the sun moves constantly across the sky), the risk of getting sunburnt, the light illuminating the artwork (so important that colours and tones can be judged well), there may not be convenient toilet facilities around, being seen and approached by other people, constantly being aware of possible dangers (from behind, above or below, as in the case of falling branches, or insects, vehicles, etc.)

  • One needs to bring all equipment (stool, easel, artwork, media, protective clothing, etc.), and manage the transportation of the artwork which may be extremely fragile, in the case of wet paint or dry delicate media such as charcoal. One soon finds limits on what can be carried, especially with regard to the size of artwork that can be transported and managed. Also, I was always conscious of keeping my artwork out of direct exposure to sunlight (which can start to discolour some papers and some media), even while carrying it to and from the tree.

  • Outside, it is not easy to isolate subjects – all subjects are part of a continuous stream of stimuli, within a vast wide-angled space. Many things change from one day to the next, some things change within hours, and some within seconds. It is a rich, complex, and dynamic world, constantly changing.

Overall, for me, the rewards easily outweigh the challenges.

Back to page menu | Back to writing menu

 


 

Dressing for the Weather

Working outside, it is very important to dress sensibly. The priorities were to dress for protection against:

  • insect pests, such as ants, spiders and mosquitoes (if possible, wearing long trousers, long-sleeved shirts, boots and thick socks – I sometimes found it necessary to tuck the bottom of my trousers into my socks to reduce the number of ants and/or other insects from crawling up my legs inside my trousers);

  • exposure to the sun (wearing a cotton rimmed hat, long cotton trousers, cotton long-sleeved shirts, and sun cream on all exposed skin). Fortunately, working under the tree’s canopy meant that I was pretty well protected from the sun;

  • exposure to the cold, especially a cool breeze (again, long trousers and long-sleeved shirts are important, as well as having a jacket in reserve). Working under the tree’s canopy most of the time meant that it was generally cool for working. If there was a cool breeze blowing, it could easily get quite cold.

These things needed to be understood and organised properly in advance. It wasn’t easy carrying all of my equipment to the tree. If I found that I didn’t have something that I needed for working on a particular day, it meant that I’d need to pack up all of my equipment, carry everything back home to pick up what I needed, return with all equipment, and finally set things up for working again (probably a loss of 40 minutes or so). I only needed to do that once, during the whole project.

There were days when the temperature was too hot to be wearing long-sleeved shirts and long trousers, but the on those days the insect pests seemed to be worse, so it was still better to be wearing these – if they were cotton, clean (sweaty smelling cloths seemed to attract more insects), and as light as I could get, they were the best choice.

Back to page menu | Back to writing menu

 


 

My Studio Under the Canopy

I enjoyed my studio under the tree’s canopy. It was full of reality, full of interesting stimuli, it had lovely bird-sounds, it was generally well protected from sunlight, and it had its own character. It is a much more interesting environment to work in than a room.


This photograph was kindly given to me by a woman who saw me working and had photographed me without me knowing. Here you can see me sitting on a stool. Another stool with a board on top used as a small table for my 120+ collection of pastels is obscured by my left leg. My drawing board with clips has a small block of wood glued to the back as a handle, and sits on my portable easel. The black bag on the left is used for transporting my pastels, other drawing equipment, a bottle of water, and anything else required.

 

Detail:


Many people saw me working under the tree and many passed on positive comments, especially children. I have worked outside for many years and found that most people who see me working outside are generally positive and keen to make some sort of connection with what I’m doing. Because of the way I work, my artwork is usually easy for other people to see. I’ve thought about many of the reactions I’ve received, and feel that other people are generally curious about the process of someone constructing an image from a subject that they can also see. Seeing a drawing or painting being worked on is likely to be more intriguing than just seeing a finished painting up on a wall.

It was generally a safe place to be at, but I did receive plenty of attention from the insect population there. I remember being quite concerned by a wasp or hornet that seemed to be attracted to my drawing, and was flying about erratically. It appeared again and again over the course of a week or so, but in the end, I didn't get stung or bitten by it. I was also taken by surprise a few times by dogs that came bounding up from behind or elsewhere. In this section of the Adelaide Parklands, dogs by law were supposed to be on leashes of less than 2 metres, but some owners thought they knew better than to abide by these laws. The other danger was falling branches. I heard several branches fall while working at the tree over the course of the project. Fortunately, I was never hit by more than falling fruit.

Back to page menu | Back to writing menu

 


 

The Changing Light

Working outside means working with a constantly changing world. The changing light is one of the biggest things that affects what is seen and felt. It makes a huge difference if you are observing something illuminated by full sunlight and then a cloud floats in front of the sun. Because we are orbiting around the sun and our planet spins about its axis once every 24 hours, the sun’s apparent position moves slowly across the sky on a daily basis, and the paths of the sun also move as the seasons change. Clouds are uneven and can obscure the sun’s light in varying ways.

With some pieces that I worked on, I relied on a particular combination of light, such as full sunlight between say 11am and 12 noon, or overcast light in the afternoon. If I required more than 1 session in which to produce a piece, this meant having to return on a similar day (weather-wise) at the same time to resume that piece. If I needed to work on a piece over many days of similar light and time combinations, I found that other things started to show up as changes, such as the length and colour of grass, more leaves had dropped from the canopy, perhaps there was more of a build-up of moss on some buttress roots, etc.

Back to page menu | Back to writing menu

 


 

Orientation of the Drawing to the Subject, and to the Sunlight

I found out a long time ago, that to work on drawings and paintings outside, one needed to manage the working environment well, in order to get the best results. An important consideration is keeping the artwork surface always in the shade. If there is any direct sunlight on the surface of the drawing or painting, the brightness of the sunlight will make seeing what you’ve produced extremely difficult. Judgments about tone and colour become virtually impossible.

I like to work with my artwork on a portable easel. I orientate the artwork on the easel to be firstly in the shade, usually by virtue of its orientation to the sun, and secondly to offer me a good angle to see the subject from. Another consideration will be the direction of the wind. I try to have the wind blowing onto the artwork surface to some extent, so that it is ‘pushing’ on the easel, rather than having the wind blow the artwork away from the easel towards me. Sometimes, because of the conbinations of needing to consider the angle of the sun and the wind, I have to work in a situation where I am constantly needing to twist around at an angle of 90 degreees or more, to observe the subject. This is certainly not ideal, and requires a lot of concentration.

Back to page menu | Back to writing menu

 


 

Using the Right Kind of Stool

I started using a stool with 4 tubular legs, but quickly found that it would slowly sink into the soft ground under the leaf litter. I found a better stool for working under the tree, made from 2 hinged continuous loops of aluminium tubing that meant that the stool was resting on 2 long lengths of aluminium tubing. I also found that the orientation of the stool was important so that when I was sitting on it for long periods of time, I wasn't cutting off the circulation in my legs.

Back to page menu | Back to writing menu

 


 

Remembering My Sitting Positions

To remember my sitting positions from one session to the next, I’d often try to find landmarks on the exposed buttress roots for creating 2 intersecting lines. The important point was where my eyes were. My stool and easel might need to be in different positions in the afternoon from the positions used in the morning, because of the changed position of the sun, or because of a different breeze.

I could also rely on the accuracy of my drawings to help locate consistent view points.

Back to page menu | Back to writing menu

 


 

Using a Mahl Stick

I used a portable easel for most of the drawings and paintings done in this project. The exceptions would be the smaller biro drawings. I had become used to using an easel for producing pastels outside. When I needed to have very fine control, I would use a home-made mahl stick to rest my drawing hand on, above the fragile surface of the drawing or painting. A mahl stick is basically a long stiff stick with a soft pad on one end. the pad is used to rest one end of the mahl stick on the edge of my drawing board. The other end is held by my non-drawing hand. My drawing hand can then rest comfortably on the mahl stick, without it touching my work.

Back to page menu | Back to writing menu

 


 

Using Charcoal

I had used natural charcoal (sticks of burnt willow) a few times before this project, but wasn’t overly impressed with it. I found it difficult to manage (it was very easy to smudge and put finger prints over everything), I found it produced dark grey marks rather than rich black marks, and I didn’t find getting fine lines with it particularly easy.

However, I’d seen charcoal used well by many good artists, and it seemed to have a higher acceptance than conté or biro as a medium – certainly, it would probably be more light-fast than biro. I felt that it would command more respect in a professional sense if I could use charcoal well. I had always found that black conté had an inferior feel to the sanguine and bistre conté sticks which I particularly liked. I wanted to draw in black for this project. I had been given some charcoal pencils that seemed to improve on my earlier concerns, and I thought that charcoal might be suited to the subject.

I started with some small sketches using the charcoal pencils, and after some success there, I decided to get some sticks of natural charcoal. I tried a variety of papers, and found that the surface of the paper was important for how the charcoal behaved. I then tried some larger drawings using the natural charcoal to see how it might go.

What I found was that the natural charcoal stick marks could be erased pretty well using a kneadable eraser. They could be rubbed away and smudged and worked pretty easily using my fingers too. I found that natural charcoal worked well for setting out my drawings and building up quick tone. It could be worked quickly and it allowed for making changes, which suited early developmental stages. I started to use it under my colour pastel drawings as well – it just needed to be fixed before the application of the pastel, to stop the pastel from displacing and mixing with it.

To get finer control using charcoal, I found that the charcoal pencils worked pretty well. Their points could be sharpened and then they behaved in a similar way to using graphite pencils – except that their mark was darker, and their points were blunted quicker. For some of the large highly worked charcoal drawings I produced in this project, I needed to spend a lot of time maintaining sharp points on the charcoal pencils. I tried using pencil sharpeners, but found that they were worn out pretty quickly by the charcoal, and they would often break the relatively soft charcoal point off completely. A more successful approach was to whittle the end of the pencil using a sharp knife, and then sanding the point sharp with a fine sandpaper block. All of this produced a lot of messy charcoal powder, so it was good that I was working outside under the tree.

Back to page menu | Back to writing menu

 


 

Needing to Use a Drawing Board with No Cover

When doing my pastels outside, I would always cover them with another sheet of paper while I transported them to and from the subject. This cover sheet protected them from damage. Most of my pastel paintings/drawings are left unfixed, because the fixing process changes the refractive index of the pastel particles. It darkens the colours and makes them more transparent, changing the drawing considerably, and usually destroying the accuracy of the colours obtained. The cover sheets might do a little damage to the surface of the pastel, but it was negligible.

With the charcoal drawings, my practice of using a cover sheet resulted in considerable damage. A layer of charcoal is much more fragile than a similar layer of pastels. Just having another sheet of paper touching unfixed charcoal would remove a lot of it. I quickly needed to come up with a solution to transporting charcoal drawings. I didn’t want to apply any cover sheet, and so I needed a better way of carrying the drawing board with the drawing clipped to it. I decided that if I could attach a block of wood to the back of the board, it could be used as a handle for more comfortably carrying the drawing board without the need for a cover sheet. The exposed drawing would be facing inwards, towards my body as I carried it. I’d still need to make sure that it didn’t touch me as I walked, or the drawing would be damaged very quickly. To maintain the integrity of the surface of my drawing board, I glued the small block of wood to the back of my drawing board using epoxy resin (the connection would need to be very strong, and using screws or nails would put little craters in the good surface of my drawing board).

Back to page menu | Back to writing menu

 


 

Toilet Breaks

Yes, a reality of working outside is in being able to find a convenient toilet every now and then. During this project, every time I needed to break to go to the toilet, I’d have to pack up all of my equipment, take it all with me over the Adelaide Bridge to the closest public toilets, just behind “Jolley’s Boathouse” restaurant, then bring everything back and set it all up again. It took out at least 20 minutes. It was also quite difficult packing up my equipment, while urgently needing to go to the toilet.

Back to page menu | Back to writing menu

 


Prev
Writing page 4
Next