Our second drawing workshop with John Bentley was more about the concept of drawing rather than working form observation of our objects. By putting away our boxes, he wanted to show to us to think about drawing in new ways and how to approach it from a different persecutive. He briefed us for the day with the quote:
‘Parameters are not instructions but opportunities that can liberate you from decision making…’ (P. Nencini)
This ideas was fascinating to me and I was nervous but excited to see how this message would unravel itself once we got started with the drawing. The idea that rules allow us to think less about one thing and explore another in more depth is something I had never really considered before. In a way this is what we had done with the boxes in the first drawing week. With that given format, it set the emphasis to be on the actual marks and how to embrace this challenge.
The first exercise was to draw from memory outlines of all the things that we own in the world. When we all displayed our drawings on the wall I realised I had included too much internal detail in my drawing. However I loved the simplicity of everyone’s drawings and it was very obvious the different ways people had thought about this task, either very meticulously or quite spontaneously laid out. The shapes varied from those that were quite ambiguous to others that were immediately recognisable. I would really like to do this exercise again, with a much simpler outline than I made originally.
As we moved however I did reduce the shapes I had to these simpler forms as we explored scale and layered these objects in lines and also within each other. Although this was very different to how I usually work I loved being free and working without worrying what would come of the drawing afterwards. One process that I really enjoyed was using ink and a rolled up cone of newpaper as drawing implement. As John called out objects we began to draw, he pushed us to consider the line, and to move past a generic drawing of that object and add something more personal to a simple outline. For example instead of any old chair I thought about one I had at home in the kitchen. As we continued drawing the lines became less controlled as the newspaper grew soft with the ink. It was then exciting to look at these lines and recreate the thickness with the fine point of a pen, then enlarge a chosen one on a much bigger scale. The drawings were really facinating and I am excitied to try and use some of these tchinques to explore my box clever objects in a different way aswell. I was also really interested by John’s appreciation of everyone’s work when we reflected at the end of the workshop. It was amazing to see how someone else sees something that we ourselves do not appreciate. This has made me look at drawings in a different way and really consider what a ‘beautiful’ or ‘good drawing’ truly is?