Category Archives: feeling and expression

part one: form and gesture

project one: feeling and expression

exercise one: experimenting with expressive lines and marks

It’s hard to draw on these feelings when time is limited and I’m really aware of the clock ticking: dog, work, kids….all those thoughts crowding in. Panic, hopelessness, exhaustion and caffeine high may been been easier to convey.

The exercise asks us to jot down a free flow of thoughts and words similar to the ‘way you engaged in a free flow of marks and lines’. I find this really difficult. I felt the aim of the exercise was to translate the word in to our feeling and that feeling in to marks on the page. To then force a translation back in to words feels like interrupting that flow in order to pedal backwards.

So I don’t exactly have a free flow of words, but these are the thoughts I had as I was doing the exercise and immediately after:


Joy – these days i get less of the crazy up all night kind of joy from 20 years ago – on a daily basis it’s closer to contentment. That spontaneous joy still comes though – often through music, and three of these panels turned out musical – a rhythm a note, a dance.

The fourth with ink on wet paper captures the spontaneous side of joy – the ‘letting go’ that joy feeds on.


I’m laughing so much at how easy it was for me to access anger compared to joy that I really should have done anger first – it may have helped me find the joy.

Unsurprisingly this was all about pushing hard in to the paper. On the last one I didn’t look at what I was doing – I wanted to do it blind, not to be hampered by what the marks looked like. It seems best not to look if you’re just trying to capture pure emotion.

I’m interested that ‘anger’ is all central on the sheet. I haven’t gone crazy and spread out – but I think this is possibly how my anger felt – mad and tight but with its limits. I get angry but it doesn’t overwhelm me. I can turn away from it. Possibly not healthy…



I was aiming for a general melancholy, what I got was sadness. Reticent about drawing on this emotion – opening that door unnecessarily. I’m interested that the results are all linear, they could be taken for calm. The third box was to be charcoal on wet – it seemed like a good idea – it didn’t really work , the paper came away so I rubbed it off. What was left was something barely there which I left as it was – it seemed to well convey the utter hopelessness of sadness – those brave attempts to come to terms with sadness that never stick.


part one: form and gesture

project one: feeling and expression

exercise two: experimenting with texture

lemon peel



Spent quite sometime trying to capture lemon peel with an HB pencil – nwith no success – though it did help me getting my ‘control’ side out of the way, helping me loosen up to experiment with other techniques. Best results seem to be charcoal and a sponge dipped into paint.

scouring pad (steel wool)


This was maddening – such fascinating texture – it’s all about the angular shine. My best effort involved a whole process of ’embossing’ the paper with the head of a nail, rubbing charcoal in lightly, going over with charcoal pencil, and finishing with a fine ink pen.

basket weave


As with the lemon peel, I felt I wanted to ‘conquer’ the basket weave with my trusty HB pencil before experimenting. Trying to capture the pattern was maddening – it felt a bit rubrics cube – by the time I’d gone from looking to the paper, I’d forgotten once again the pattern. The key to the texture is the slight fold in the material itself and the dark shadows where it dips under itself.

I think the frottage and the frottage mix worked ok, and I can imagine blending in the frottage as part of a sketch. In the fourth I had the idea to pull back from the detail, to get an overall idea of basket weave texture – I don’t know why I found this so difficult. The light was dim and flat so there wasn’t a great deal of texture but even so, I’m really disappointed with the result.

The final experiment I’m happy with – weirdly a rubber cuticle stick dipped in crumbled brown pastel and pushed into the paper. It seems that using materials that take away some control give more expression – I suppose this is obvious – just that it’s taken a while for me to discover this.



Wood was the most maddening of the textures I chose – perhaps because it’s the one I thought would be the most straight forward. I’ve added a photo here to remind me of what I was looking at. Frontage didn’t work. I also tried rubbing charcoal and pastel into the wood itself and then rolling that across the paper – no go. The charcoal probably works best for a sense of that crumbly texture. The paint was the most frustrating – I’m a total beginner in paint and trying to work it here just made me mad.