PART 5-TIME LINES:Project 1 – A changing scene


Project 1: A Changing Scene

“Find a busy scene, with plenty of movement. As something catches your eye, capture it as best you can. Keep responding to movements as they happen so you build up a drawing full of dynamic energy…. You should be able to make a drawing which captures a sense of time elapsed, rather like a photographic long exposure…”

 My busy scene occurred on a day spent drawing at the V&A museum in London. I chose this environment deliberately because it contains different levels of movement. There is the physical of course where people with time restraints are hurrying, people are meeting up with friends and colleagues, people are queuing for tickets, people are meandering and contemplating. All of this movement takes place with the contrasting space of the museum where statues of people in varying poses of movement are frozen in time, suspended! Here time itself is suspended. This presents a fascinating contrast.

But also something else is going on in such an environment and this is the element which caught my interest. Many figures are standing still, looking at the exhibits or simply deep in thought. Here the movement and the time factor are happening in thought. Time is passing as thought is moving, yet the body is motionless.

The third factor which interested me as I sat in the museum was the concept that time exists in the moment, rather like the child’s complete acceptance of the ‘now’. The past and the future of time are simply fragments which exist only as impressions in the ‘now’.

These three concepts about time arose from the museum visit and so much of my time there was spent in letting ideas come to me and not so much in recording what I was seeing. I think this way of working is developing from the research and personal work I’m doing for the parallel project on ‘Abstraction’. It certainly is leading my thought in new directions.

I began with trying to capture the scene of movement:

I continued working with this idea building on the concept of the long exposure image-


My next studies were concerned with placing the action into a space. I created the space using the immovable images of columns in which to place the action and then continued with many layers to try to respond to movement  and its impression on the element of time. After each drawing I erased the detail with chalk and pastel and then worked over the top, trying to show multiple impressions.


The final two images experiment with real-time where the figures are placed in  time in which movement and activity have left their impressions. Deliberately they are not moving to emphasise other type of movement – the movement of thought and the movement of interchange between people.

All of these images are studies in the sketchbook. I then went on to work on larger pieces, exploring the same themes.


Throughout the work I was still fascinated by the idea of all of the movement taking place in the mind when one is visiting a museum and so the changing scene becomes the changing thought process. The body remains motionless but the mind is absorbing new ideas. Time passes unnoticed. So I began to work with the motionless figure.


The next steps were quite challenging as I began to create different layers to respond to the idea of what was happening in thought with the motionless figure.


This is work in progress.

Finally, I was continuing to think through abstract ideas for the parallel project as I was working on this project. I drew on two images at the same time for two of the studies and this gave me a real sense of the energy and the movement that I wanted to capture in the abstract work. The following images were about trying to capture the excitement and levels of change which can occur when seeing something new for the first time.




The last abstraction was simply about movement.


These last two images will form part of my parallel project on ABSTRACTION IN MY OWN PRACTICE.



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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