brown paper

In a limestone gorge leading to the sea, my idea was to abstract rather than represent, using simple crayon marks on seawhite kraft brown card.  I found this almost impossible.

The drawings of Welsh megaliths by Rose Davies offer an idea of what I would have liked to have done.

I have drawn this same gorge, leading to a cove, in watercolour five years ago, in this link, and also this.

19 responses to “brown paper

  1. How great you can compare these to drawings from 5yrs ago. The picking up of a conte crayon was a major event for you I think. I do like those rocks in the second link. Blogs are useful databases aren’t they

    • Agreed – the blog is great for reflection. I don’t know why conte crayons appeal so much. They are a challenging medium.
      Note by the way those old watercolours pull back from the edge – I needed to learn to keep my strokes going.

      • Oh no, i’ve looked back at what I did yesterday and there’s a blank piece of paper around the edge! And that after I’d gone back and filled in an earlier piece. Keep reminding me

    • I looked back at the rocks in the one you like. I had a clear plan, wash then calligraphic strokes with the brush tip. It kind of works. But looking back also, I find the watercolours don’t say much to me if you get what I mean. I’ll post some watercolour / conte crayon mixed media rocks soon which mean more to me. I find the grittiness of the crayon more palpable and I like that.

      • The older one has a freshness and brightness that invokes a certain kind of weather that I recognise. Perhaos you’ve said more about the atmospherics than the rocks. Alot seems to change in 5 years. I might have a look back as well, see if there’s still a discernible thread connecting what I do now. However, I’m nervous I’ll prefer what I was doing before.

      • Thanks OA for the comments. I do like the appearance of the earlier water colours more than the crayons. I don’t think this kind of drawing is what they are meant for. That is why I use them, to break from that style (but failing). I think I am looking for gritty over pretty. Your pictures recently have really struck a chord with me – they have seemed closer to what I want to achieve than mine, full of guts and atmosphere.

      • Lots of interesting comments, thoughts and replies here. Especially about that third/first picture! I do prefer what you are doing now, I wonder if that strong blue next to the rock and that white shape in front (the third pic on this post) links to that freshness I noted in the earlier water colour. Anyway, that’s beside the point although I’ve lost my thread and I’m not sure I had a point now. Do you think you have reconnected someway to drawing again? If not I may have some ideas which might be more suited to a face to face conversation. Which of your recent pictures comes closest to what you wanted to achieve? Start from there or pick someone else’s picture you like to start from. I’ve been trying to channel Joan Eardley. I’ll look at a hedge and try to think how she’d paint it. I can’t replicate her, but it gives me a way in.

      • What do the teenagers say? Oh Em Gee!!!
        Joan Eardley. I did not know of her work. I just searched images. These are great – full of atmosphere and character. This is exactly what I think we are searching for, in our own ways, not pretty pictures but images which grab you and which work on so many levels, so you want to look again and again and each time you discover something more.
        In a way that is the point of the conte crayons. They are gits to use. They are tools to deconstruct drawing!

    • Thanks for asking.
      This series of sketches come from my holiday when I found time to draw, and think about drawing, having felt I was losing my way recently. So I will build on your question in the next posts. However, briefly, drawing is partly mastery of tools and technique but more a cognitive process of seeing and interpreting and placing the image in an emotional context. That cognitive process is the challenge. It can be learned to an extent, but it’s more about letting go of will and directive thought while still applying one’s skills. It’s perhaps like meditation, or improvising on an instrument.

  2. Interesting to see both of those watercolours. I think that they were before I started following your blog. It’s interesting how one medium appeals over another. I am still enamoured of watercolours. I agree with Rosie, the third sketch is getting there, but I don’t think you should get overly concerned that you haven’t leapt to full abstraction in one go. Have you considered trying some drawing exercises which might help with breaking down the realist look? I was thinking of drawing with your markmaking tool on the end of a stick (could be a challenge with conte, but works with other media) or doing multiple sketches and then re-sketching from memory away from the subject matter.

    • Thanks for these thoughtful comments Leonie. Tactful too. I think you like my earlier watercolours over the current crayon. I agree.
      But this is about exploring what these media and surfaces do. These are all exercises.

      I am overwhelmed by the day job currently (not to mention the time wasting dog) and was doing less and less drawing. I felt I was losing my drive. This holiday, I was generously allowed time by my wife and children to get out, not just to draw, but to think about drawing. So this sequence of posts will, I hope, contain that reflection as I tried different techniques and challenged the habits I had fallen into. This does include drawing with a stick, if not with a conte crayon on the end.

      • Good to hear that you have had time in the holidays to try some new things and just draw. It’s so easy to push these things to the end of the queue when in reality we, not to mention family and friends, will benefit from the activity. I am enjoying your posts and frankly what l do and don’t like isn’t the point, it’s what floats your boat! 😄

  3. Pingback: through mountains to the sea | kestrelart

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