In her recent book Notebooks Betty Churcher says “The act of drawing had me looking more closely.” This book provides access into Churcher’s 2006 trip to key museums around the world (as well as a few earlier drawings), to draw a range of paintings that were important to her and commit them to her memory in the face of her failing eyesight. It is an interesting insight into a range of major paintings that relys on Churcher’s observational skills to understand these works, rather than relying solely on her art historical training.
On 13 July I drew these odd lumps of concrete and reinforcing wire poking out above the floor of the building – which is now lower than our own windows.
The 15th of July saw quite a few more drawings, including the now visible lower segments of the pillars I had drawn on the 13th.
Inspired by Betty’s example and with a sunny lunchtime stretching ahead I went down to street level to try some observational drawing of my own. I ‘warmed up’ by doing a quick blind drawing of the scene.
Then to the hard work. I find observational drawing extremely demanding. I have to strive to actually look at what is in front of me. It is easy to be lazy and draw only what I think I see there. This type of drawing poses a series of questions that you seek to answer with your pencil. How does the angle of the broken floor above relate to the angles of the floor and walls below it? Where does that piece of scrap metal sit in relation As you focus on each of these questions the relationships become clearer and your drawing will truly examine what you are seeing.