July 28, 2012

Beginning to draw

I have started drawing this summer, and am enjoying going out and finding bits of nature to draw.  The different grasses above are from the meadow at my brother's house in Vermont. (Double-click on the image to see more detail.)  I was inspired by an exercise called "Find a Child":

"If you have a child of two or three, or can borrow one, let her give you beginning lessons in looking. It takes just a few minutes. Ask the child to come from the front of the house to the back and closely observe her small journey. It will be full of pauses, circling, touching and picking up in order to smell, shake, taste, rub, and scrape. The child's eyes won't leave the ground, and every piece of paper, every scrap, every object along the path will be a new discovery." From Learning by Heart by Jan Steward and Corita Kent (NY: Allworth Press, 2008; first published 1992), p. 14.  I recommend this book highly!  For more on Corita Kent (Sister Corita), look here.

Even without a child at hand, the core of the instruction in the exercise is clear:  slow down, look closely.  I spent a good bit of time at my brother's drawing.  I tried both pencil and Pigma pens, and found I liked the pens best.  I will be taking a workshop in the fall where I'll be doing printing on fabric, so I am wanting to build up a body of images that I might want to use.


When I came back home, I turned to my own garden:

Some dried coreopsis and baptisia leaves:

Then I added colored pencil (a dried lily bud and lamb's ear):
It interests me that the drawing can be effective (in the sense of giving a feel of the actual subject) even without me being able to be in control or precise:

Then I went out and bought some Derwent Inktense pencils--you use them like colored pencils, but can then go over them with a watercolor brush to get something like watercolor (here rudbeckia triloba):

In addition to these nature drawings, I also played with some line patterns as possibilities for printing on fabric:

All three of the above consist of an element repeated horizontally and then vertically.  This is obvious for the lines in the middle drawing.  The top one is a row of curved humps. The bottom is a series of the Hebrew letter "tet."


  1. I'll be interested to see what you end up printing on fabric, but in the meantime, it looks like you're having a lot of fun!

  2. Looks like a lot of fun! Are you drawing while on the West coast?


  3. Love it, Penny! There's something so soothing about fractals...