Monday, August 18, 2014

Playing Fast and Loose

I have had no patience lately for intricate detailed work or careful renderings. Perhaps it is the influence of our recent anachronistic spring weather that has my blood rushing and my branches stretching to wave at the sky. Perhaps it is my love affair with the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen which responds effortlessly to every nuance of rhythm and stress.

Whatever the reason, my recent drawings have been more gestural than usual. I look more at my subjects than at the paper. I dive in without preamble. I seem to be skipping the part of the process where thinking happens as I abandon myself to the feel of the thing.

It's true that I sat for a couple of hours in front of a Fremantle facade, exploring its details and architectural patterns, but I was restless throughout, half loving the lines of arches and columns, half rushing to be done with them.

Here are some recent sketches:

These first two were done at the Indianna Tea Rooms at Cottesloe. A group of us gathered there for a Sketchbook Skool inspired outing and drew our morning tea and each other. Some white oil pastel found its way into the bottom drawing - I was simply too impatient to think about leaving the white or highlights of the hair and carefully painting the greys or navigating the pattern on the left hand blouse. A quick scribble of pastel, instant wax resist!

Above: This is ot brush pen but a fairly chunky sharpie. It doesn't have the melodious flow of the brush pen, but I also love the uncompromising, sturdy line of this pen.

This one (above) was wild indeed. I asked my students if they'd mind if I sketched them as they worked on their projects ( relief teaching, when not fraught with bedlam, can be boring for a supervising teacher). They assented, no doubt comforted by my assurance that they would be in no way recognisable. This is a more scribbly pen - possibly a Uniball. About 80% looking at the subjects, not the paper. NB some of these guys were sitting on couches reading - hence the laid back, half asleep look.

Fast lines coloured with a big brush.

Brush pen again.

How about you? Do you have these urges to dive in and let the lines run where they may?


  1. Yes, I have those urges all the time but usually wind up doing more carefully contrived sketches that take way too long. (I seem to like detail.) Recently I tried one using watercolour pencils and magic crayons. It looks like a child's picture which is sort of what I was aiming for, but I was disappointed in the result. Anyone who can do the kind of work you have shown here is very skillful. One thing I particularly appreciate is your composition--reminiscent of Matisse and Dufy. Wish I could "let go" and do as well.

  2. Hi Louisa, I have always loved Dufy and Matisse - thanks for mentioning them. I'd love to see what you are drawing! It sounds great!!

    1. I am trying to get just ONE sketch/drawing that seems "right" for presentation online. I wouldn't feel good, at least not at this point, in showing older sketches. Feel they must be fresh and recent--the way yours are.