I chose to undertake the drawing as experience field module because I felt quite distanced from the practice of drawing and thought that this module may introduce me to new ways of drawing and new techniques to apply to my practice and reinthuse my interest. This module has not disappointed, it has pushed the boundaries of what I previously considered to be drawing and equipped me with new tools and techniques to document not just the things I see but my experience of the world as a whole.
From this module, I have also learnt that drawing can be used to give someone an experience and provide someone with a visual insight into an experience you are trying to portray. Drawing does not have to be about documenting something exactly, it can be more representational. I found the concepts and ideas within this course a little difficult to grasp at first, but once I got used to the idea of creating marks to represent sensory experiences, I started to understand drawing as a much more vital part of an artistic individuals life than I ever realised.
Being introduced to sensory stories and learning that visual stimulation can aid so many people’s understanding really inspired me to focus on working on creating marks that universally could be recognised to portray a variety of experiences. Having to represent smells, tastes, sounds and touch using pen and paper was incredibly challenging but really made me aware of my own senses and forced me to deeply concentrate on thinking about how I would represent my experience. I definitely think that the more practice I had from undertaking the various sessions within this module, the better I became at making sensory drawings that people could recognise and relate to. I gained experience of being at the receiving end of responding and understanding other people’s drawings when I was asked to participate in a performance responding to the drawings of my peers in the drama drawing workshop which really boosted my confidence in the power of drawing and in drama. The musicality of drawing session also gave me an insight into how you can respond to the surroundings, the only difference being that I was tasked with responding to the senses and experiences through drawing in order to give someone else an experience rather than through music. Drawing in the dark environment of the Opera unable to see the paper forced me not to think about the outcome and only to focus on documenting my experience.
Both the materiality of drawing and the psychogeography workshops were the most beneficial, influential and interesting to me. In the psychogeography session, I almost mapped the pathways that I walked, physically documenting my journey on paper. This encouraged me to think about the versatility of ways that you could document your experience of being in a landscape or environment which could be a useful skill to tie into my subject work. The materiality of drawing workshop encouraged me to work with a variety of materials and to utilise every day items to make marks and draw with. The use of unconventional drawing tools made me consider the fact that the object you use to draw with and the connatations of that item are embedded in the drawing. I am keen to link this into my subject work by making my own drawing tools from natural materials. There was something very satisfying about making my own drawing tools and I feel that drawing a place with tools made from objects from it makes the connection to place and nature even stronger.
I have learnt so many skills throughout the course of this module and I feel I have been building my own visual language step by step whilst trying to decipher how to use that language to convey a certain experience. I have realised a much deeper importance in drawing and no doubt will be integrating it into my practice in a variety of ways.
The materiality of drawing session is definitely going to influence my subject work. I am really inspired to make my owl tools to paint with and with a theme of art and nature running through my subject I want to use natural materials to make tools from connecting my art to the natural world more deeply. This is something I would not have experimented with if It wasn’t for undertaking this field module.
Linking my field work to my subject work, I have created a sensory story that gives the viewer a sensory experience of walking within the Brecon Beacons National Park through imagery, action, objects and sound. I have incorporated different elements of walking in the Brecon Beacons, like the crunching of frosty grass under your feet, the sound of leaves rustling and the sun peaking out from cloud and warming your face to build up a sensory experience where the viewer can be taken on a journey and feel as if they are experiencing all the different sensory stimulation from walking in this surrounding.
As in my subject work, John Piper and Neo-romantic painters are of influence to this piece. John Piper tries to capture an experience of place and natural surroundings within his paintings by painting landscapes with elements of abstraction and expression. He thinks nature has personality and tries to capture a sense of being among those personalities. He sends the viewer on a favourable romantic experience of place and landscape and takes someone on a journey. His work is highly influential to the ideas I have worked with in my Sensory Story.
I wanted to use lots of experiences of being in the area to build up one total experience in the viewers mind. I didn’t put all the experiences together in this piece as I understood how easily people could be over-stimulated from the workshop with Becky Lydon about sensory processing. I am demonstrating synaesthesia by overlapping creative languages and the marks that I have made within my sensory story will be subconsciously influenced by my own experiences and memories of the Brecon Beacons.
I experimented with mark making for each experience before embarking on the final outcome to make sure my ideas were clear and to ensure that the marks I was making did suggest the experience I was portraying. I think the combination of drawing and sounds gives a richer and deeper sensory experience of the occurrences I am trying to convey and so I have paired my mark making with sounds of the experiences in question. My use of sound and the making of drawings/art was highly inspired by the workshop I undertook as part of this field option where Bethan Frieze, Professional Violinist played music in response to artworks in the sensory object exhibition. I found I had a stronger sensory experience of the object when it was paired with sound and so knew I would be incorporating this into my sensory story.
I have learnt so many skills throughout the course of this module and I feel I have been building my own visual language step by step whilst trying to decipher how to use that language to convey a certain experience. The most influential parts to my sensory story have been the practice of making marks to portray something and learning how to give a viewer an experience of something without drawing it accurately or realistically. The materiality of drawing really inspired my thought processes in the making of this sensory story, I wanted to link this work to the nature element of my subject work and so took influence from the use of unconventional drawing tools and drew with stones, twigs and leaves as well as being inspired by the idea of making my own drawing tools. I made a brush type tool out of dry rustling leaves and dragged it across the paper as if echoing trudging through foliage. Influenced by the psychogeography session I have incorporated pathways of walking and marks that signify footsteps. Drawing in response to the Opera I saw made me think less about outcome and more about documenting an experience. The drawings I produced from this definitely had musical quality and rhythym and so I tried to capture this energy and focus on process, less on outcome. Responding visually to artworks in the sensory sense exhibition helped me think more about how to represent something to an audience that hasn’t experienced it. I tried to put myself in the shoes of someone who has never been to the Brecon Beacons and formulate marks and sounds that could send them on a journey of experiencing small happenings sequentially in order to get a sense of a whole experience of being in the surroundings.
I am confident that through this sensory story I have demonstrated that I understand how drawing, in its broadest sense can be used to evoke a sensory experience. I have sent someone on a journey by using drawing, film, action and sound to portray sensory elements of a whole experience of being within the Brecon Beacons national park. Sequential experiences, gradually build up to give the viewer an insight into being in the sensory story themselves. Creating a video piece means I have been critically reflecting and evaluating my work as I am going along as I have been deciding what footage to keep and what not to keep. However, if I was to improve this piece, I may think about using a more subtle sound for sunbeams peering through the clouds. Also, It may be beneficial to have a drawing at the end combining all of the marks to give the viewer a physical image that gives a sense of the whole experience after they have been taken through the stages of it. I have taken the skills learnt in the workshop sessions and applied them to make for a successful piece of work. I would also like to cross some of these skills over into my subject work and bear in mind the experiences viewers will get from my artwork more significantly. Making natural tools to draw landscapes with in my project would definitely allow for a greater connection to place and nature, as materials have a language themselves and push my concept further. Drawing sensory walks around the landscape that I am trying to portray could help me get to know it better and make an interesting accompaniment to a more figurative piece. Lastly, in my subject work, I have been making drawings containing mark making influenced by the marks in John Piper’s work, but now I will make drawings that contain mark making portraying a sensory experience of being within the place again making my work stronger in its relationship to place and nature.
In order for my marks to be successful in sending someone on a sensory experience of walking through the Brecon Beacons, I feel I have to practice them and decided which marks and colours represent each experience most accurately, they will also be combined with sound to heighten the experience.
The Rustling of Leaves
I think the most successful marks here are the lines in different directions with a stippling effect, the leaf like marks are a bit too literal and I think the idea of using a tool that I will make to apply the marks will make the experience even closer to nature and the Brecon Beacons surrounding.
Walking on Gravel
I think I would like to combine elements from all of the marks here to create a gravel impression, I will apply a stipple effect with a stone and maybe even put gravel on the page. I could use the line work to echo the idea of footprints in the gravel and the viewers movement across the surface.
The Snapping of Twigs
The wood-grain mark here is too literal, but i think the two lines with a sort of explosive mark in the middle portrays the snapping of the wood and the sound. I will also draw with twigs and snap some on camera.
Crunching of Footsteps of frosty Grass
I have made marks that portray the journey of walking on the grass but on reflection, rather than drawing marks I could use paper and crunch it up and print steps on the paper with it.
Sun Beams on your face, breaking through the clouds
The sun beam is recognised and so I chose to make marks that replicate them in yellow and orange colours portraying warmth as the sun breaks through.
The obvious colour to represent water is blue, but mark wise: I have chosen raindrop shapes and wibbly lines portraying the flow of streams and rivers. I could also drop blue ink onto the surface echoing rain drops.
Wind on your face/getting out of Breath
Blowing ink with my break in rhythm will definitely give a sense of being out of breath walking up a mountain. Blowing ink with a hairdryer could echo wind and I could add marks that represent the wind blowing across the paper like swirled lines. I think the most successful breath mark is the simplest sideways v- shaped lines.
After experimenting, I am far more confident about creating a sensory story. I think the marks here are visually very representational of the experience I am trying to give even without sound. Now I will film the process of drawing these marks and think about the materiality of drawing and make tools and use unconventional materials. I will also add sounds to the process video to heighten the viewers experience of the Brecon Beacons through many smaller experiences building up the whole experience.
Psychogeography explores place. Drawing is research and a way of responding to the world. Walking can be part of an artwork and in this workshop we were encouraged to walk around the outside world drawing our journey, eye movement and visual experience, kind of mapping our where we walk on paper.
“You don’t see anything properly until you draw it”
We were asked to make continuous line drawings without taking our pen off the paper and without looking at the paper while we walked through the natural environment of Bute park, Cardiff. Drawing is a trace of where we look. Here the outcome wasn’t really important but the process was as it acts as a visual map. In this exercise, the hand should move with the eye.
Also, I was made aware of the different between drawing experience and drawing the visual by doing it.
Walking back to university, we made arm movements in the space and walked single file behind each other and were encouraged to take in the surroundings. Then we were asked to all collaborate together and draw those movements onto a big piece of paper which was interesting because you would drawing from the memory of how you felt when performing a movement but also actually the movement of waving your arms etc. As expected the drawing was quite dynamic, but also showed the different experiences, feelings and emotions each individual has had as the marks were so versatile from one another.
Using the drawings I made on the walk, I was asked to draw a memory drawing of the place. I saw this as a chance to put into practice some of the techniques I have learnt throughout the module and to attempt to document the whole experience by incorporating a variety of experiences within the experiences through marks and drawings as I am planning to do in my sensory story. I thought about all the sense and incorporated visual elements like trees and vines but also included the feeling of my nose and fingers being cold, the fabric of the inside of gloves and hat, sounds of dog collars and claws on the path, the sound of birds tweeting, a breeze, coldness and a slight shiver. I did find the initial drawings helpful in producing this memory piece but I wrote down words as I went round of what I could see, hear, how I felt etc and I found those more helpful. We also meditated for 10 minutes remembering the walk, the direction and feelings and this allowed me to focus the mind successfully. I am really pleased with my outcome and I definitely feel it portrays a whole experience and sense of my walk in Bute Park.
Drawing can be used to describe an experience of being in a place, this is something I have been exploring but through more visually literal methods combined with mark making rather than completely abstract outcomes in my subject work. Experiences turn into memory and the marks made are the memory of the place/walking. I have learnt that you can document journey through drawing a pathway, direction and eye movement and how effective this technique can be as a starting point to draw a place from memory. This is definitely a tool that could cross over a subject work. Also, in documenting experience: Process can definitely be more significant that outcome.
As I am going to be videoing my sensory story, to make it more successful: I thought I would plan out the kinds of marks that I will make for each experience within a whole experience of being within the Brecon Beacons. I will use Fineliners, various Pens and drawing inks to produce my imagery and I will apply the materials using natural materials like leaves and twigs, cutlery, paper, my breath, a hairdryer and make one or two tools to incorporate marks with. I will also include colour.
Throughout this module I have learnt so many different ways of documenting experience, place and senses. I have worked out my own visual language to portray feelings, senses, visuals and emotions and now it is time to use it and put it into practice. Showing process is important in portraying experience. Process and Sequence for me contributes to taking someone on a journey and experience which is what I want to do. I will combine different techniques learnt throughout the module and combine my own visual language development to take people on an experience of walking through the Brecon Beacons National Park.
The morning session aimed to further our understanding of how we process sensory experiences and was delivered by Becky Lydon who makes highly interactive art works. She believes that you learn most by experiencing and so making experiential installations fit in with these beliefs.
“To Function and participate in the world that surrounds us, we need to use our senses”
“Senses provide us with different experiences within Society”
Individuals with autism respond to their environment in a very different way. Becky was interested in putting us in the situation of a person with autism in order to understand what it is like for them. We went through some exercises to be made aware of how we process our sensory information. We did some exercises where five individuals were doing something at once allowing us to see how we cope with many things happening at the same time. I was made more aware of sensory processing and realised how easy it may be to become over stimulated.
What skills do we have to follow instructions?
Empathy, Copying, communicating. We have to be able to understand how we feel when we become over stimulated, to be aware of the senses. We use our sensory information to learn. Our senses are the building blocks for the development of many other skills.
If our seven senses aren’t working together it could take longer for us to understand things and we would find it difficult to develop. Our behaviour would also be affected. 80-90% of autism cases have these kinds of sensory perception problems. We undertook exercises that made us more aware of this like putting your finger touching a partners finger and moving your hand up and down them both. My brain thought that both these fingers were my body but obviously I couldn’t feel the contact on my partners hand. It was an incredibly unusual sensation. We continued to experiment with activities the body wasn’t used to like eating with our eyes closed and eating ice-cream that didn’t taste like ice-cream. Autistic people may feel like this all the time, they wouldn’t have to do exercises to prove it and I can imagine it gets very frustrating.
Sensory Processing disorder is a complex disorder of the brain that means you misinterpret everyday information. One or all of the senses are intensified or are not present at all. Hyper-responsive or Hypo-repsonsive. This effects sensations, perceptions, thoughts and emotions.
The way a person responds to sensory experiences can be seen as an indicator of what the nervous system requires.
Becky put on an exhibition of experiential installations for us called “sensory senses”. Artist’s that inspire her work include:
Richard Wilson’s Reflective oil works. You feel quite nervous of movement as if you could fall in the oil, interesting response created.
Cildo Merieles “Through” – Feeling of uncertainty, broken glass included, you question why someone would make this. Another of the works that stood out for her was where you walked through a dark small room barefoot to get to a candle but your feet get cold. It is filled with talcum powder which doesn’t allow you to get to the candle on the other side.
Ernesto Neto – “Humanoids” – Even hugging yourself and smiling generates a response and makes you happy. “Leviathan Thot” – reminds us of our own awareness of our human bodies.
Richard Serra – “Open Ended” – Large sculptures make you feel really small. Interesting sensory experience of being overwhelmed.
Bill Viola – “The Crossing” – Fire changing into water – provokes emotion and response from the viewer.
We were asked to write down 5 things we thought of when thinking of ice-cream: Cold, Delicious, Different textures between cone and cream, melting, beach – and then draw a quick response to it, I found this exercise difficult, i think throughout the module I have found it most difficult to portray feelings in marks without being to literal, for example coldness.
We were then asked to respond to one of the pieces in the exhibition and to communicate something for someone else to experience through drawing. Creating another artwork from an artwork. I chose to look at the distorted mirror installation where the mirrored tiles weren’t lined up properly, Inspired from a quote by a lady with autism “Seeing the world like a mosaic”.
In my response, I thought about the fact that none of the images when looking in the mirror were complete and so I made my drawing up of incomplete squares, highlighting this and relating to the general shape of the artwork. Also, if you moved quickly while looking in the mirror, the image was quite distorted and so I added wibbly lines and the path ways of my reflection moving across the mirrored surface. I wanted to give someone an experience of their own reflection in the mirror and a sense of it moving across it but being incomplete and fuzzy. I think my drawing does capture this and I am quickly learning how to make marks that make someone have an experience or relate to something I am trying to say in preparation for my sensory story. This whole workshop was very valuable I learnt further how to capture experience in response and was made aware of sensory disorders and autism, I would be interested to see how people with autism may respond to this piece.
This evening, I attended a performance of “The Magic Flute” by the Welsh National Opera at the Millenium Centre. Going to an opera was a new experience for me and combining it with drawing was very interesting indeed. Drawing the sounds of the Opera in marks was a challenging task. It was difficult to think about how to differentiate between the different voices on paper and the variations of pitch was also quite hard to capture. I made marks to the rhythm of the music and different instruments in the orchestra mainly, the volume of the sounds and the number of people singing at once. I found it challenging to show all the different voices and so found myself making drawings with a vast variety of sounds within them. The outcomes are quite interesting and contain sort of patterns within them, I drew at points all the way through the opera and developed a larger variety of marks as I went along. Below is a slideshow of all the responses I made in a variety of different mediums while at the opera.
Another interesting part of this exercise was the fact that until the interval when the lights came up, I couldn’t actually see what I was drawing and so I could not worry about the outcome. This allowed me to become more immersed in the experience and really think about the mark in relation to what I was watching and hearing. My mark makings have captured my experience of the opera and are actually quite visually appealing. This has given me a bit more confidence for making my sensory story because I had to find marks that represented certain sounds and happenings which is exactly what I will be doing when aiming to send someone on an experience through drawing and mark making in my sensory story.