Part 5: Outdoor – first attempts on site – sensual experience

One of my possible subjects is ‘Outdoors‘, in context with figurative drawing, reflections, or other? I am open for new experiences and just want to get started.

During my previous researches on ambiguity (Schaffeld, weblog post 30 Oct 2015 and weblog post 10 Nov 2015), I came across the phenomenological approach (as structure of experience, perception and consciousness – quite a philosophical concept). There the sensational experience is a main topic. I felt especially quite attracted to the approach of Deborah Harty and Philip Sawdon (2012) who tried to draw the ‘Taste of tree’ through the association of recalled sensations experienced on site.

In the context of my personal project (outdoor, figurative) I wondered how I can go ahead with this idea. Still an early approach: drawing on location (not in the studio, not from photographs), testing material and to see what I would experience. I already had a few outdoor experiences (feeling, tasting the site) during my visual research on Kate Downie (Schaffeld, weblog post, 25 July 2015)

I captured a short video of the site while walking around and before starting to draw (evening) for future reference and for continued inspiration (Schaffeld, video Nov 2015).



  • Incidentally it started to rain. I took this surprise as an opportunity to see how it will impact my drawing. To use the rain as a medium (#5, 6, and 7) creates new texture, markings (ex. #5). But with use of pigment (ex #6) it went just done the drain.
  • I placed all drawing (still wet) into my folder and went home. There I noticed that some sheets were sticking together. After seperating them interesting effects appeared, a kind of décollage effect! (ex. #10)
  • Tissue (baby wipes) gave another dimension of depth and creates visual effects in a physical and sensual way
  • Focusing on reduced and bold marks helped to convey believable forms and depth (#4, 9)
  • Ink was a challenge again, especially on site. Needed more dilution. Less would be more (#2)
  • Drawing in charcoal on wet paper doesn’t work (#7)
  • Using pigment with gum arabic gave a textural effect, but need more attention and experiments (#1, 8)

What marks are more successful?

  • Clear differences between hard and soft edges
  • Simple but focused shadow marks
  • Variety of marks for form illusion
  • Use of pigments and/or found materials to convey site sensation
  • Use of tissue for atmosphere

Overall I am considering the drawings #4 (simplicity), #8 (ambiguous), #9 (translucent and ambiguous) as most successful. Drawing #1 has a good idea, but need to be worked (simplicity and ambiguity).

Next time:
– Understand where the paper edge (horizon) should be and/or experiment with layered papers (see Jasper Johns ‘From Untitled painting’, 1964-5) (especially drawings #4 and #6)
– Understand how much space around the main subject should be drawn or left empty (see Tatiana Trouvé ‘Untitled from the series Remanence‘, 2010)
– Experiment more with pigments and tissue (see #1, 8, and 9)
– Investigate more site experience: How can my markings convey the sensual experience of the site?
– Drawing from memory and recalled sensations..
– To take more time on one drawing with stronger physical approach and bodily awareness.
– Consider de-collage technique for future experiments (reminds of of Asger Jorn’s décollage work, torn posters series).


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