Sunday, 13 May 2012

Drawing in the Grampians - II

So what did I produce on my week away?

I had a couple of goals in mind. One was just to do some serious big drawings, with an attempt to get them to some sort of completion. I managed two.

For me, drawing is about seeing and recording. If you spend alot of time, carefully observing something, you manage to see so many details. You can feel yourself change as you get deeper into the picture. It's almost like a light switching on. Whilst I would love to make great drawings, that's not the main aim of my ongoing 'need' to draw.

The next aim was to have another try at painting. I find I need to separate the two aspects of drawing: the line or structure, and, the colour. So I figure, with painting, that I can record colour. I've been reading a book on Fred Williams, whose landscapes are disceptively simple with big blocks of colour and 'blobs' of colour for the smaller features.

I tried several times, and while they weren't successful, they were a step in the right direction. I decided to use gouache, rather than watercolour or oils. It allows you to paint thinly or thickly and dries quickly. My colour matching wasn't great, but that's the subject of the next blog!

I attempted to put down just blocks of colour, then I painted over them a stiff brush to make ragged dot marks and a sponge to also try and get texture into the picture.

I then took the first picture back to the cabin and tried again. Working from a picture in 'the studio' isn't a skill I've achieved yet, so a worthy first attempt.

Oh, and I did finally, on the trip home, draw an olive tree.

And, don't they photograph well.....

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Drawing in the Grampians

As part of the Diploma of Visual Arts course, we can attend a week of drawing at Mt Zero in the Grampians. In the western district of Victoria, the Grampians are spectacular and a drawcard for rock climbers. We stay in the Mt. Zero cabins, basic accommodation, mainly for said rock climbers and school groups. It acts as a base, and with a real fire and good company, we bring our food and wine and share.

The treat this time was paella, sadly in the rain, but accompanied by sangria was not a bad deal for the week.

Day one is driving. I go on my own and plan some stops. I've found a gorgeous cafe in Bacchus Marsh, where I also try and buy locally grown food from the roadside food stalls. There are gorgeous little towns along the way, Beaufort, with a great op shop and, this time, I visited Seppelts at Great Western to pick up a couple of bottles of wine!

Day 2 is a drive into the Grampians, about 10 minutes, with Aboriginal Art, beautiful views and great rocks. This was when I strained my back, so that the next day, I didn't participate in the sculpture around the dam. I did document it with my camera, but the idea of bending down did not excite me. The afternoon, I decided to climb Mt. Zero. Only about a kilometre, with a rock scramble at the end, but it took me an hour one way. I stopped to do quick sketches, drink and rest.

It was worth it! The view was spectacular, and, although a little windy, I had lunch up there, drew and took photographs. A slow and slightly sad decent, interrupted, surprisingly, by the thud of the rock wallabies! I felt very satisfied. The is to be my last year and climbing Mt. Zero seemed a fitting exercise.

Thursday, was a trip to Mt. Zero olive farm. Always a mixed bag. It's a delightful olive farm, just under the shadow of Mt. Zero. The olives are wonderful, I bought a 2kg jar to take home! The olives were just about to be picked. However, drawing olive trees is my nightmare. They seem to demand that you draw every leaf! 

So I stayed away from them and had a very pleasant day.

Friday is the drive back. I went back the long way through the mountains to Halls Gap, the main town nestled in the Grampians. It was a very pleasant and spectacular drive. I finally made Ararat where their gallery is wonderful with two exhibitions, both very interesting. One ceramics and the other, Lucy Irvine with her sculptures created with cords, plastic tubes and plastic ties. They were graceful and beautiful.

It was a little difficult driving home as there was some rain whilst I was on the dual highway part of the trip. Lots of trucks sending vast amounts of water over the car, does not make for stress free driving in the dark! 

But, I did make it home, feeling tired and happy, after a great week.