Layers and Layers – Recording Observations 2

I took a small sketchbook with me on our walk and draw day on the cliff lined shore near Monknash on the South Wales coast – and I found it much easier to work with traditional drawing media than with the iPad. However, I have not had much practice with the iPad in this way.

One of the reasons for bringing the iPad was to get a bit more experience and make a better assessment of it when using it with a traditional approach to drawing – i.e. the SketchBook Pro program I used was set to use a “pencil” at 50% opacity. It would have been easier if I’d had a stylus! I found the strata of the rocks quite a difficult subject but that may have been my lack of practice!

I first used the iPad for drawing when preparing for the Josef Herman Art Foundation Schools Award 2014 project. My first attempts were tentative, but practice obviously helps. Restricting myself (and the children) to using the “pencil” tool was intended to help us learn the basics and become familiar with working in this way. One thing I thought might be useful was the ability to record the process of drawing as an animation.

Below are two of my earliest drawings on the iPad. I hope the viewpoint of the first is clear and the second is of one of the Rosa Mundi flowers in our garden. The flower is the one that would make attempt using colour on the iPad!

iPad drawing of my foot

Rosa Mundi iPad drawing

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.

Looking Seeing Drawing

I am currently working on two drawing based projects. The first is the Josef Herman Art Foundation Cymru Schools Award Project 2014. The focus of my part in this project, apart from Josef Herman, is drawing – more specifically, drawing and digital media (iPads). See below for examples on video from this project.

The second is a research project run by Cathy Treadaway with CARIAD at Cardiff Metroplitan University – Centre for Applied Research in Inclusive Arts and Design.

Both projects fit well with my approach to drawing. Drawing is about looking and understanding. By observing the things around us (or within ourselves) and transferring that observation to the drawing medium, we can understand and appreciate more of what we observe. For this to happen we must look, look and see. The more we look, the more we see, the better we understand. The deeper our understanding of the world around us, in my view, the closer we come to balance within that world.

Our understanding of drawing has widened in recent decades. The traditional techniques of pencil or charcoal on paper (amongst others) have been augmented. My own drawing used often to be charcoal on paper (a medium I love). These days I think of some of the work I do with wire and weave, as drawing – it is a way of working out ideas in my head that need a means of expression. The full expression, however, does not appear until a finished piece is produced. The “sketchbook” I took with me recently to Crickhowell, to show my tapestry workshop participants, was a table full of bits of weaving and wire, three dimensional trials and experiments – there was no paper.

When producing my StillWalks videos, the first step (most of the time) is to carry out a recce walk. I don’t take my cameras and only take photos on my iPhone. I think of this as drawing. It is my first sketch of the environment where, on production day, I will gather the content for the finished StillWalks video.

The digital medium element of the Josef Herman project is the iPad. All of the schools I am working with use iPads in their classrooms and so were familiar with them. They were less familiar with using them for drawing. However, David Hockney, through the use of his iPad, has shown the world a good example of the widening array of methods to record our observations and express our imagination and understanding.

Below are some examples of drawing by 9 and 10 year old children based on Josef Herman’s work. The children modelled as figures from Herman’s works and drew each other on both paper and iPads.

At The End of the Day

One of things I enjoy most about the longer days of the year is evening walks.

I love walking at all times and in many different conditions but when the sun puts on a display like this . . .

You can watch the StillWalks sample video “Coastal Walk – Evening” here.

Scottish Sunset

Scottish Sunset

Arboretum Walk – Featured StillWalks Video

The featured StillWalks video changes today to “Arboretum Walk” which takes place in early Spring and is from Gelli Aur / Golden Grove Country Park in Carmarthenshire, South West Wales.

If you would like this video in HD (720p), you can pay whatever you like via the donate button in the sidebar of the website and I will send you a link to download the video for you to watch in full screen high definition any time you choose. You can watch it on your computer, mobile or HDTV (via USB memory stick).

Accounting for the Rejects

Over the next couple of weeks I am going to be posting a selection of images that didn’t make it into some recent StillWalks videos.

I have recently been working on a series of StillWalks videos around Lower Lliw Reservoir near Swansea, South Wales. During a production day I will take between 300 and 800 photographs. On average, only 10% of these will actually make it into the finished videos, around 50 – 60 images.

I use Adobe Lightroom to review and filter out the images I want to keep or reject and this can sometimes be a difficult process. Post processing individual images is not done until the penultimate stage of selection when the decisions become harder to make.

Overall the images need to tell the story of the walk. Along with the field recording, they need to show progression. The image below was left out of the Summer evening video because the photo was taken facing backwards on the walk and the fence is therefore on the wrong side and not in keeping with the rest of the sequence.

rusty fence

rusty fence

StillWalks Featured Video

This weeks featured StillWalks video is from a place I am looking forward to seeing over Easter. I hope the weather is good – although it is a place that is wonderful in any weather conditions!

In future featured videos will be accessible via the post they are published in on Sundays and through the sidebar of the website blog page. They will be changed every 1 – 3 weeks.

If you would like this video in HD (720p), you can pay whatever you like via the donate button in the sidebar of the website and I will send you a link to download the video for you to watch in full screen high definition any time you choose. You can watch it on your computer, mobile or HDTV (via USB memory stick).

A Winter That Never Happened

We did not have Winter this year where I live – last Winter, however, was different.

Having said that, his new StillWalks video is obviously from last Winter. I have only just completed it and would like to present it as this week’s featured video before the we are completely out of the season that never happened.

This featured StillWalks video will be available on this blog all week and will then revert to a small sample version. The video features Lower Lliw Reservoir near Swansea, South Wales.

The video above is in 480p quality. You can use the Donate button in the sidebar on the right to pay however much you want and receive a high quality (720HD) download of this week’s featured StillWalks video. Click the image above to watch the video. DVD Collections are also available to order in the StillWalks Shop.