Project 1, Exercise 1
Experimenting with expressive lines and marks
I was worried about starting this exercise because I am generally not good at expressing my feelings. In just one session though, I managed to enter into the feelings suggested: Anger, Joy, Calm and Fear. I started by writing down the words that I associated with the various feelings, choosing appropriate memories from my life as the various triggers and was surprised by how easy those feelings/emotions surfaced. After entering each emotion and finishing 4 drawings using different media, I wrote down the words and comments that surfaced as quickly as possible without thinking too much.
Media selected included Darwi Cristaline drawing ink (homemade bamboo drawing pen and credit card as tools), Caran d’ache GRAFCUBE graphite block, Faber Castell Graphite stick, Daley Rowney blue oil pastel (I did not have a black one!), and an old Staedtler pigment liner pen (that gave up on me – have to buy some more). The paper selected was a heavy, textured paper – a little bigger than A1.
Calmness to me evokes thoughts of palm trees, a hammock, a slight sea breeze and still sea – water, tea and scent also came to mind. These thoughts put me in the mood, but whilst drawing it was like drawing without boundaries, restrictions or any sense of realism – uninhibited! Soothing almost – so much so that I felt the need to caress the ink drawing and smudge any wet lines/marks.
The drawings appear to have images of waves, the sea and even a boat – all drawn relatively slowly and subconsciously.
After completing the 4 drawings the words and sensations I felt included stillness, a clear head, silence and freedom.
Anger is an emotion that thankfully I very rarely experience. Words such as hurt, bitch, scream, shout immediately came to mind before the exercise and I felt my heart starting to race, and raised adrenaline.
The lines were drawn very quickly and with a great deal of pressure applied. I also started to deconstruct/destroy them using an old credit card cutting and scraping into the images.
Immediately after completing this series I had a raised heartrate and my adrenaline was pumping and I had to wait a while before starting the next one.
Due to working at a faster more energetic rate, the marks became more loose and uninhibited, messy even – I broke up the charcoal stick and the fibre tip of a drawing pen! The exercise became more of a physical one.
A mother’s smile, a new baby, Christmas, a bonus and the stars give me a sense of wonder and joy.
During this series of drawings, I felt that I needed to dance with the tools and media – to use flowing strokes large and small – like moving to music but without music in my head. During the process I noticed myself smiling and happy.
My chosen feeling for the last series of drawings was the fear experienced by a new start, the fear/anxiousness of failure, the fear of losing a job etc., not the fear created by terror.
The feeling was more about needing to hide, withdraw or put up a barrier….
Darkness, alone, nervous, and erratic were some of my thoughts upon starting these drawings.
The initial top right drawing was a little forced and whilst erratic was the least successful – all the other drawings had a sense of putting up impregnable barriers, the fear of insumountable obstacles and the darkness – all of which need to be broken down before success or dreams are realised.
Moving forward in this course, I will need to use this exercise as a resource and a basis for creativity – to break down some of the invisible barriers I put up to not show my feelings – which in turn could restrict the range of expressive lines and marks available to me.