Parallel Project – Thoughts

In this course, students have to undertake a parallel project of their own devising. The remit for this is pretty open and I want to set my own aims and objectives. The course sets the following framework: the project should use the ideas of the course, can focus on any subject, in any style or materials to produce a body of work.

Following my recent workshop at West Dean, I have been inspired to draw my garden in a new way. I have always investigated my garden through photography and microscopy. I am not a great gardener, more of a plants-person, and my garden is rather chaotic and over-mature. I go on safari in it looking at beetles and seed heads. I often draw it but have found it a very difficult subject with the towering trees and complex layers of vegetation but now I feel I have a new way in to drawing it. The expressive drawing approach of Emily Ball, whilst firmly grounded in observation, is about an emotional response to the subject, capturing the feeling of a place rather than trying to produce a directly realistic representation. It is also about responding to and developing the marks and shapes evoked by place.

I try sketching my garden regularly but have always felt, up to now, that my sketches are weak and fiddly. The garden offers several advantages beyond my physical and emotional involvement; it changes through the seasons, it can be explored at a macro and micro level, it is always available.

garden (1 of 3)

Two early morning sketches – twee, fiddly

I have now tried interpreting my garden with new eyes and ideas and feel inspired and liberated.

garden (2 of 3)

Feeling the rhododendrons blowing in the wind,

My personal objectives for the project, whatever the subject, might include:

  • experimentation with media, mark, scale (both of subject and support)
  • push myself to do things I wouldn’t normally do (but I am very experimental, so I will have to think about what this means) colour? paint? stitch? wire?
  • think beyond the flat support
  • drawing on the subject, with the subject, the subject as installation
  • explore texture
  • produce muscular work, simple, strong
  • produce some sort of record of process beyond my sketchbooks, perhaps an artists book, scroll or video?
  • produce related research into artists embedded in place or drawing trees, say – does/can  this link to the critical review?




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