Sunday, June 30, 2013

Toowong Cemetery Drawings, - from life drawing to dead drawing.

I have discovered a wonderful new place to draw!

It ticks all the boxes I am currently concerned with.
a) I am outside
b) I am working directly from the subject, no photos etc
c) I am really building up my observation skills
d) I am working on my rendering skills.
c) I am not bothered by people

For the last month or so I had been going to the Botanical Gardens and have captured the last of the water lilies and the flowering trees of the Japanese garden (I will post these images at a later date).
There were too many people there however and they felt that I was there simply for their entertainment. So I switched to the Toowong Cemetery which is close by and I have suffered no such interruptions.

The Toowong Cemetery is an amazing place to sit and draw. I can drive my car in, pull up virtually anywhere and set myself up with my little stool, my pad and pencils and my thermos of tea. I am particularly interested in the plant life, the incredible trees and the shadows they cast. In fact on my first day driving in it was the strength of the shadows patterning the ground that struck me first. The sound of crows kept me company. (I love the much maligned crow. They are very intelligent.) I also realised I needed to be very well prepared with fruit and snacks as I am so used to taking breaks whenever I like in my own studio.

There is so much subject matter here.

* Firstly the natural landscape, the trees, the weeds and the bird-life.
* The historical aspect of course,
* and what I would call the "hand of man" in the carvings, inscriptions etc, different cultures represented
* and most excitingly the phenomenon of nature taking over once again in the crumbling of the tombstones, and the tree roots growing through graves etc.

There is distant traffic noise, aeroplanes flying overhead, birds everywhere especially scrub turkeys.

The overall colour is stone colour, dead leaves, sharp sunshine and lime green against the black of the trees in the shadow. There are little vistas everywhere and the place is very hilly.

I think there is beauty here. It is a place filled with emotion, memories and history. It really interests me.

These are the first four drawings.

I was basically working in charcoal but decided to add just a touch of colour with pastel to each drawing. 

There are some lovely pink and green weeds in the foreground here.

I have put some lime green on the bush at right.

 Again I added the lime green leaves as they were actually there.

The drawings are actually quite accurate as far as composition goes. I haven't changed anything or added what isn't there. At this early stage I am simply recording what I see and getting a feel for the place.

I don't believe in the supernatural and I am not religious but I do feel the overwhelming force of people's emotions and grief especially in the choice of inscriptions on the headstones. I can cope with that as it is part of life.
I joke to myself that I spend so much time doing "Life drawings", these are my "Dead Drawings".

The names and dates interest me also.

I am not sure where these drawings are going to take me but it is enough for now to be simply drawing.

I have posted images on Instagram of each drawing in front of the subject.

I would like to be artist in residence for the cemetery! Friends of the cemetery take note.