PART 1: EXPLORING COMPOSITION – project 3- changing the scale

Project 3 – Changing the Scale

Aim: The focus of this project is to explode notions of scale and experiment with an extreme change of scale to achieve a powerful drawing….

The starting point of this project was to assemble a collection of small objects and then to make a drawing of a section of this image which could be enlarged to create a landscape view or architectural detail. I collected some buttons, pieces of bread which had been cut into cubes for the birds, some old pegs and some elastic bands. A handful of these items were then placed on the table with no attempt to arrange them.

Using a frame I took different sections of the arrangement for drawing.

From a small quick sketch of one of these I drew an enlargement. I spent quite some time trying to see how I could use this image in a larger context of the landscape around me. This wasn’t easy and challenged the imagination.

Initially, the shapes and lines of the image were beginning to suggest ‘puddles’ and so I used a coloured pen to redraw the lines of the circles and rectangles. By this time the imagination was flowing and I felt the excitement which comes when the ideas are beginning to show themselves.


Before taking the idea further I went back to several photos I’d taken of puddles and moving water. This proved a further stimulus to the imagination and so I began to work on this idea.

On a larger sheet of watercolour paper I redrew the image using the dropper and acrylic ink. I was tempted to use watercolour but at this stage, I didn’t want to be beguiled by the paint and away from exploring the image with drawing.


The acrylic ink dropper is a great drawing tool – you can get wonderful sweeps of lines which when water is added reacts like watercolour without the fuss. I only have a limited number of colours of acrylic ink and so I’m not sure I entirely like the blue but apart from that I felt excited about the outcome of this drawing.

I love the energy of the image and I think for me it has captured the essence of a puddle on a stone path. The image has also captured the reflections which are part of the magic of puddles.

By this stage I felt I wanted to take the theme of ‘puddles’ further as I could see further possibilities. I moved the frame to another section of the arrangement, in particular to bring in the shapes and lines of the elastic bands. So this second study comes from an arrangement of elastic bands and bread. The hungry birds will have to wait longer for their food, I’m afraid!


I drew an initial study of the section with an HB pencil so as to get the detail. I just loved drawing the elastic bands! For this study I wanted to focus on the contrast between the flow of the water and the hard spaces around the puddle.


This idea was taken further using a different medium – black ink and pen.


Next study: Revisiting the arrangement of bread cubes, buttons, pegs and elastic bands, I drew from the other side of the image because I wanted to focus on the strong perspective of the peg.


The image began to take on different forms – circles, winding shapes, strong diagonal, squares – and instead of these remaining separate, I began to see the shapes within another image. At first I experimented with bringing out the perspective, suggested by the peg, of logs lying beside a stream with the curves and movement of the water beneath them.


From this image I began to develop the idea of the diagonal into the image of exposed roots of a tree. This seemed to lose touch with the original image of the peg etc and become just a drawing of an old exposed tree. So I went back again to the arrangement and began to draw freely with the pan pastels.


I wasn’t going so much for accuracy as to try to get the feeling of the shapes. Suddenly the different shapes which I mentioned above began to crowd in – I was seeing the long diagonals of fencing and squares of huts. As I said before all the shapes from the original drawing were merging together to suggest an image of a scene in Sweden at Skansen which we visited recently.


This final image was interesting for me because I hadn’t thought of drawing the landscape of this place. As it began to emerge from the tiny arrangement of objects on my table top, I began to see the potential of starting from extraordinarily mundane things in order to arrive at unusual compositions of landscapes. This image is quite abstract but it has all the elements of the scene which I experienced.



About pbfarrar

I am an Australian living permanently in England. I have recently retired from the position of Principal of an independent school and have taken up the study of Fine Art with the OCA.
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