REFLECTION: Part 4: project 1 – found images

REFLECTION: Part 4: project 1- Found Images

There doesn’t seem to be any end to this collection of ‘found images’ drawn from nature but I must draw it to a close so that I can move on. I have loved this exercise and am continually in awe of what I see around me, from the most humble to the awe-inspiring!

In the sketchbook I have experimented with ways that I could use these examples. The mark-making possibilities are exciting and I found that as I experimented with the drawings I was expanding my mark-making vocabulary. I started with looking at shadows and reflections and how they impact on the environment. The first example of children swinging from a climbing frame impacts in two ways: first, the shapes of the shadows of the figures contrasted with the lines of the frame and second, the marks made from feet in the sand on the ground. I found this image so interesting when I took it that I wanted to work with it, using charcoal, in order to understand the abstract shapes. What a complete transformation of the scene happens with the shadows! It created in my mind a narrative of activity, movement, laughter, joy, and challenge …



I experimented further with the iPad looking at the lines created by the shadows.


Reflections continued to intrigue with the patterns formed on the wall as the light came through the blinds, drawing interesting line shapes. This reminded me immediately of the work of Julio le Parc who works with reflective materials creating spectacular moving light installations.


Long evening shadows always create a reflective atmosphere and I took some time to play with these shapes and ideas. They speak of expansion, drawn out and slowly absorbing the light. All the shapes become distorted and lose a sense of reality.


Shadows are a most extraordinary drawing tool. The wonderful drawing on the door of the reflected iron hanging basket was exciting to explore but there was no way I could do it justice. The shadow drawing held numerous tones and shapes which were beyond my pencil but it was fun to explore. In doing this it expanded my thoughts about tonal values.


Further opening up of shapes and tones came when I took photos of the reflection on the surface of a copper jug. The shapes were amazing and gave me ideas about landscapes and vistas.



Nature’s drawing with roots, branches etc provide endless inspiration for mark-making and I just had to explore this with the charcoal.


The final example of found images of nature’s drawing was in the design of lichen on old stone. I took photographs of this because of the beauty of the shapes and the endless variety of tones and colours.

I spent quite some time working with these images to see where they would lead. I was doing this at the same time as I was exploring ideas for my parallel project on abstraction and also researching Andy Goldsworthy. His book of TIME encouraged some exploration into how I thought about ‘Time’ and so I began experimenting with the photo images. The first idea was quite superficial, thinking about the surface image of the plant on the stone.



But then I went further and took Goldsworthy’s key components in his structures on “Time’ – movement, change, light, growth, decay – and started to explore these in thumbnail sketches.




I was at the same time experimenting with abstraction for my parallel project. In fact everything seemed to be coming together all at the same time. The photos of lichen were the starting point for me but then the ideas were taking me somewhere else. Another element in these studies were the thumbnail sketches … the use of space is an ongoing investigation for me and I find that if I experiment within the picture plane it forces me to use the whole of the space in the study.

I have to say this last lichen experimentation was very hard work, in terms of thinking. Although nature gave me the starting point and, I guess, the inspiration, finding my way to the beginning of the abstracted image took a deep process of thinking and waiting for the essential essence of what my ideas about time are. The final study here perhaps looks sketchy and even scribbly but, be in no doubt, it is far from that! Every mark on the paper is an idea and is placed there in response to an emotion. I am putting down on paper my concept that “We have just one moment…”. I’m exploring this in abstract terms. For the first time, I feel, I managed to get away from the materials and just let the ideas guide.



This has been an important exercise for me particularly in terms of my parallel project.


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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