This exercise required a collection of objects either connected naturally or deliberately contrasting. I decided on a selection of bells – two cowbells and a handbell, but I didn’t feel these had enough detail to warrant a line study.
I’ve always been fascinated by plant galls and the oak trees I pass on dog walks are covered in them. I knew you could make an ink from oak galls so I decided to bring that element in to the story and duly procured some oak galls, rusty nails and gum Arabic to make some ink.
I had a go at drawing some different found natural objects in my sketchbook with my fountain pen and a pheasant quill pen:
I tried some various compositions but didn’t want anything too contrived so ended up with a tumble of hazelnuts to one side, and the cowbells to the other. I put the knopper galled acorns to the front so I could focus on the detail. I liked the idea of the wheat creeping in from one side so wrapped them around the smaller cowbell. I liked the random quality of the feather quill for the wheat but the smooth nib of the pen for the hazelnuts and acorns.
I made some notes in my sketchbook:
The main points:
- Links: colour, of the land, season
- Natural vs manmade
- Detail: contours on galls, texture/seam on cowbell, pine cone
- Draw eye in to centre to counterbalance compostion
The text said to think about the background so I used a backdrop of my two art boxes, and sat back from the table on a low stool so I was almost at eye level with the arrangement:
I used fountain pen to start with:
I felt there was something missing on the right hand side and wondered about an apple or something in front of the box. I wanted to have another go with a dip pen and the oak gall ink:
I like this one but I needed to go in closer to make the objects a bit bigger; there’s too much empty space and it was the lines I was after. The dip pen was quite difficult to control – I’ve not used one before – and I didn’t especially enjoy the experience.
I think regarding the exercise I have explored the concept of line; a combination of the two drawings would bring out the best end result but I need to move on.