Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Roadtrips, the Death of Creativity & the Continuous Sketch

I had the brilliant idea back when I started planning this year long project, to build a series of sketches into a continuous panorama. Each place I visited should form part of the total picture, they thus needed to loosely join each other (eg match horizon and tonal blends. So I recognized that occasionally and intermediate image might be needed for a difficult transition.

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I soon found out this wasn’t a particularly original idea, but I wasn’t deterred. I even experimented with a few sketches to get the best size (which was quarter watercolour sheets, around 28 by 18cm and in landscape mode. I even though these could be scanned and reduced onto cards. However there was a bit of a time oversight, on the road and travelling (Australia) is a big country and getting between places I wanted to visits take a lot of time) left no time to stop and work on the idea. So very few sketches got completed. If I tried to remember what the road trip saw a few days later I could perhaps describe it but not draw it convincingly. Clearly my visual memory requires a bit of time to work. So I gave my canon to my wife and said take pictures out the window every now and them as we passed through different country. Ok, Now I have a lot of blurred photos.

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The photographer is not to blame, my wife has a good eye for what to photograph. It is the speed of car travel, and trying to anticipate the gaps between tress, landposts and countless other obstacles. Still I should be able to take a trees from here the tone and texture from another and the colour balance perhaps from a thirds. Again sounded simple but I always ended up trying to slavishly copy the little amount of detail I could get in the glimpse of in focus landscape.


Then I realized something important, that has be nagging at me for a long time now. I find it very hard to start a painting from a single photo. I’m much happier is I have a sketch I have made, even if it is a very simple composition or tonal layout study. I’m not convinced I’m alone here. Perhaps the time to sketch slows you down an ramps up your visual seeing rather than the symbolic seeing, as the landscape flashes by.  Further the act of drawing reinforces that visual sight and lets you focus on the important aspects of creating something. You come tp terms with the detail that is not required and are happy to leave it, whereas the snapshot records it as if it is important.


However, I’ve lost enthusiasm for the continuous sketch project. So The moral is…


Lots of driving and no drawing kills creativity

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