Seeing the Sea Wall – A Confusion of Scale

The scale of the sea wall separating Swansea beach and Swansea harbour can be seen here without to much ambiguity. However, when looking from the top end, at its lowest point to the ground, a confusion of scale becomes apparent.

While it seems from the top of the beach that the wall doesn’t “grow” in size much at all, as you walk towards the sea beside the wall, it becomes gradually apparent, until, at its highest point, you realise the true scale of it towering above you. The same effect of space distorted can be seen if you approach the wall “broadside” from a distance along the beach.

It doesn’t matter that I know the scale of the wall and have approached it in this way many time, that strange confusion of scale does its trick on my perception of it every time.

Has anyone else experienced this kind of spacial effect here or anywhere else?

Sea Wall rusty sea wall

Trolley Cemetery and a New View of Drawing

Decaying with time, these old trolleys create a strange cemetery in the mouth of the River Tawe, Swansea.

Those that already follow this blog will know that there is more to come throughout this week to tell the story of a recent walk in the docks/marina area of Swansea.

The walk was the second Mission Gallery Walk and Draw with Sarah Abbott that I have taken part in. On this occasion, while I did a little sketching, most of my drawing was with my DSLR camera, iPhone and small edirol sound recorder.

Having read that the winner of the Jerwood Drawing Prize this year was sound artist  Alison Carlier, I felt that my description of drawing with my camera and sound recorder while out on pre-production recce walks for StillWalks videos, is perfectly valid.

With The Big Draw continuing throughout this month, perhaps it is an appropriate time to consider and enjoy the broadening definition of drawing.

trolleys in sand

trolley in sand

Old fence section

trolley in sand

Pattern in Wood

The fascinating patterns in the wood of this tree stump are, I am sure, partly the result of it spending some significant time in the sea. It would be easy to mistake them for some kind of animal markings or camouflage and claw marks!

patterns in wood

patterns in wood

Round Stones and Flat Rocks

The pattern created by these smooth round stones was the second thing that interested me about this small area at the foot of the cliffs near Monknash on the South Wales coast.

I took a closer look and, on my iPad, I started a couple of sketches of the the harsh light and shade.

This revealed the disadvantage of recording observations with this method – namely heat! The sun was shining and it was a blistering day. Although I started my drawing from a vantage point in the shade, the sun soon moved round and I found that the glass of the iPad got extremely hot to the touch quite quickly. Had I been using a stylus, I might not have realised what was happening which may well have done some lasting harm to the iPad.

Click below to view the iPad animation of one of my attempts at drawing these stones on the iPad using SketchBook Pro.

Monknash stones

flat rocks

Flat Rocks

Rockpool

Walking and Drawing – Thoughts and Observations

Following the production walk for the “Breakers Walk” StillWalks video (see yesterday’s post), I recently spent a day with three of the other artists involved in the research project “Walk and Draw for Health and Wellbeing”. The project, led by Cathy Treadaway from CARIAD, involved us on this occasion, all going for a walk through Cwm Nash woods down to the seashore and the cliffs on the South Wales coast and spending some time drawing.

I took a small sketchbook and an iPad. I have been working with drawing and iPads on the recent Josef Herman Art Foundation Schools Award project for 2014 and wanted to continue with my assessment of the iPad as another instrument for drawing. I have not reached a clear conclusion about this medium yet, other than to say it is quite different to other methods of recording observation.

The one thing the iPad has in common with all visual recording methods is that you still have to look. You can, of course, use the iPad camera to take a photo and then use that image to “trace” aspects of the subject but, to my mind, with that approach you lose the advantages gained in looking . . . or do you? After all,  observation has to be used in order to decide on the photograph to be taken and that is an essential element of StillWalks.

What are the advantages of visually recording observations? What are advantages of the different methods of visually recording observations? And what are the disadvantages of not recording observations?

More thoughts on this to come . . . 

Down on the beach

Rocky shore

breakers

Breakers Walk – A New StillWalks Video

This past week I have been showing a taster of this new StillWalks video. Now, here is the video itself. Please watch and if you can, use the expand button in the corner of the video to watch it full screen.

The video is nine minutes long, which is longer than many other StillWalks videos, but I hope that you will appreciate the reasoning for this and enjoy its full length. Comments are welcome.

The video was produced as part of a research project with Dr Cathy Treadaway for CARIAD at Cardiff Metropolitan University.