Lately I’ve been looking at my sketchbooks differently. I’m still drawing in sketchbooks, drawing whatever is in front of me at that moment; it’s a great way to try out new media and techniques, and also a way of recording where I’ve been and when, ‘seeing the world one drawing at a time’.
I realised this year though that I’ve got a bit stuck in my sketchbooks, a place of comfort rather than development. We all have our places of comfort, and sketchbook work is mine. But I also enjoy the freedom of working fast and large and would like to do more.
So, I’m now trying a different kind of practice in the field and in the studio. Influenced by a workshop I attended recently in Ashbourne with Lewis Noble, I’ve been taking a drawing board and A3 paper out with some larger brushes.
Working big and fast in inks and gestural marks, unexpected elements of the landscape take prominence on the paper, and new focal points begin to emerge.
Torn out and glued onto a page, the sketch extracts take on a life of their own. I now have a sketchbook full of ideas for further development.
For me, in these pared-down marks, the essence of the landscape is more intense, the mood more expressed, the shape and pattern of the land beneath and the lines and marks made by human intervention more stark and obvious. More truthful to the experience of living and working in it perhaps.
The monoprint above was hand-pressed in multiple layers using printing inks and torn-paper masks.