Monday, June 23, 2014

A Walk in the Woods

Hollidge Tract, pen & ink on 4.5 x 5 110lb paper
I've been wanting to try out "plein air" sketching, but I've only managed the one time. Plein-air is like life drawing (drawing from life) without the naked people. Actually, naked people lounging in the forest could make an awesome image, but I digress. The point is that drawing what you see in front of you is quite a different experience from drawing from a photo. Drawing without a reference is another thing altogether--a skill I'm glad I'm moving forward with.
What I found during my first and only foray out this year (sans the naked people) is that I'm decidedly a victim of "can't see the forest for the trees". I could not see through the tangle of lines and textures to find the composition. Of course, a simple solution is to find one of those picture perfect scenes, you know, the ones that make snap shots look like postcards, where the composition "as is" is perfect, but in those cases, I usually just save myself a lot of time and heartache and take a snapshot instead.
Sitting in the woods, an artist should be able to distill all that bounty of visual clutter into a coherent whole. This is the thing I found far more difficult than I thought.I keep wanting to draw in every detail, which equals a big mess.
Drawing from memory is another thing. Memory is a selective thing, and drawing hours or days after the act of seeing (as these two pen and ink drawings were done) filters out all but the most compelling elements.

Hollidge Tract, pen & ink on 4.5 x 5 110lb paper
This is one of several attempts to capture the tangled landscapes of the creek that runs through Hollidge Tract. There are many scenic spots, but photographs, or a literal interpretation always disappoints. This is another "from memory" drawing and I feel it gets a little closer to the truth.

I'm still hoping to do some work "plein air", but my last outing (that inspired these two sketches) turned into a lovely walk instead (ie. I just kept moving and never got around to sitting down).
posted from Bloggeroid


Michelle Basic Hendry said...

I love these.
It's funny, when I write about a place, I can't do it right at the time of an experience. I have to let it percolate. Memory sheds the unimportant details and gets to the message. Great post..

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

i love your lines in these, so flowing and full of movement :)

life drawing in the forest....thats actually a great idea. would be an interesting combo of the shapes in the forest and the human form

kaslkaos said...

Thanks Jennifer, and yes, I would seriously love to do the combo, but would have to put two and two together in studio (someday?)
Thanks Michelle, so it's not just me, good to know. Maybe the limits of memory can be a good thing.


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