Developing an idea through sketchbook ‘notes’ is an integral part of the ‘work’ of making art. Whenever I have been really diligent about it, it has always been an amazing source of inspiration.
I wrote before about how, when I had to work within tight constraints tight, the abundance of ideas that eventually burgeoned forth was astonishing; how a seemingly boring idea, the vertical line, became such a fascinating subject that, in the end, after a series of sketchbook explorations, I felt that I could have made it my life’s work.
So today I want to talk about the results of another, similar sketchbook exercise that I did when I was researching my (as yet unfinished) series of paintings based on the frangipani flower.
During a trip to visit my sister in Maui, Hawaii I was completely blown away by the many varieties, colours, shapes of frangipani that there were. Their exuberant abundance was exhilarating and I decided, then and there, that I HAD to make some work about them.
It’s a flower with a fairly simple structure so it would have become quite monotonous to just keep painting the same flower over and over. I decided that I wanted to see how many ways I could find of representing it. I decided to work in monochrome because it would focus my mind and my eye. Gathering together any materials that I had in black, white and anything in between those two extremes, and a variety of different drawing implements Iset to work, using just a single photograph of a single flower as my starting point to create 12 variations.
What emerged was an interesting series of images that each had a particular and unique quality with different emphases and mood. Here are a few of them.
I began, of course, with a simple tonal pencil drawing, using a soft pencil with varying tones to pick out shadows and shapes.
Using that framework I then created a collage/ink wash version, where the direction of the newsprint also helps to define the direction that the petals are falling. There were several other variations that I will be happy to share if you contact me on Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/oilpainteratlarge/