Botanica exotica workshop – lessons learned: Ubud (8)

 This 2+ metre wide unfinished drawing is made up up of 2 large sheets and 4 small remnant sheets held together with masking tape. This was part of a 5 day workshop with Suzanne Archer. I enjoyed the experience of working at this scale. 

The big tropical plant running across this whole drawing was a last minute attempt at ‘bringing the whole piece together’. I don’t think it quite works. But, the beauty of working in pastels and charcoal is that it can be easily rubbed back or drawn over. This is quite freeing when you don’t know what you’re doing (!). It also allows you to  try this and that till an idea evolves. I also learnt these gems from Suzanne:

  • To create depth, ‘draw as if your arm can reach through a space and beyond’.
  • In working from dark to light, ‘pretend you’re in a jungle looking out into the light’.
  • When something’s not working, ask yourself ‘what is it that you don’t like? What isn’t working.’
  • ‘Set up an installation of objects to use as inspiration for drawing. Think in layers and what’s coming through and between.’
  • ‘Vary your marks. Change directions.’
  • ‘Keep to a theme, add text’ in your concertina book.
  • ‘Draw big’

The drawing? It is now dismantled and in Ubud. I may or may not return to it but that’s ok as the lessons are still with me.

A bit about Suzanne Archer: Video (Art Gallery of New South Wales) and the workshop: Art adventures Bali


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