Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Strange doodles

You wouldn't think a simple action like picking up a coffee cup would give you a flash of how life could change completely in an instant - but something in my back went twangg and I was suddenly unable to perform a hundred tasks and movements that I'd previously taken for granted. Thankfully it is on the mend - whew! - and bending and stretching seems once again feasible!
I've been reading an old out-of-print book that came my way called 'Techniques of Drawing' by Fred Gettings - full of interesting insights, one of which is the connection between handwriting and drawing. When I think how little I write longhand these days, it's no wonder a pen sometimes feels awkward and unnatural in my grip. He recommends creating abstract forms from your own handwriting and developing them into 'meaningless' drawings with texture, light, shade and form. My doodle above is not this exercise, and I can't remember if I did it before or after reading that, but I enjoyed making the (gobbledy-gook) script just as a tone in the negative shapes - makes me think I should make the effort to write more often.
I did some urban sketching yesterday - and felt strongly the awkwardness of the pen as I started drawing the excavations on the left. A bit more comfortable with the curvy staircase on the right, but still not as loose and free as I'd like to be. These with more info if you'd like, over on Urban Sketchers...











13 comments:

laura said...

I'm glad your back is not bothering so much; a similar thing happened with my rotator cuff a couple of weeks ago ... still can't move my arm much!
The top sketch is a great illustration of how well you organize space! Love the handwriting as background. (I'm going to look for a copy of that book.)
Bottom illustrations are lovely too. I love urban/industrial subjects; always wanted to paint what I saw out the train window commuting from NJ to NYC: there's a beautiful geometric abstractness to it!

Gillian said...

Wow! What variety in subject matter and style. You are brave to draw the building/construction site, and so well too! It looks relaxed to me, and great perspective. Good to read about the handwriting/doodling/drawing - it encourages me because I was a habitual doodler. I realise I don't do that much anymore because of the COMPUTER! (I still love writing my name because its all up & down then the 3 dots. Remember A.C. teasing me about that!!) Sorry to hear about your back - OUCH! I was wondering why things were so quiet over there... Glad its on the mend. Vasbyt!

RHCarpenter said...

I like the more serious sketches but the top one with the crazy word-dancers is so fun and lively! Is that Martha Graham in the middle in that long dress or perhaps Isadora Duncan? This definitely should become a painting! Perhaps you could title it, Less Words, More Dance!

Cathy Gatland said...

Sorry you've also been in the wars Laura - its a shock when movement is suddenly a problem. The book is worth getting I think, I ignored it for months, thinking it was 'old-fashioned', but it's quite a treasure trove!

Gillian, you know all about back pain ;-( computers have to be behind everybody's decline in handwriting skills... I think doodling is a strong family gene though, and to be encouraged.

Thanks Rhonda - I never think of turning doodles into paintings, they're a product of my most vapid moments I think (perhaps deep sub-conscious!?) but could be fun...

Vivienne said...

A long gap (mostly owing to sharing the computer)but I have loved logging in and seeing your lovely calligraphic sketches. Brett Whiteley's best painting (I think) relied on his calligraphy. The Gautrain sketch will be a bit of history.... what a revolution it will be for Gauteng. Love to your big son... late for the big b-day. Hoping to see A.G. on Friday!

Vivienne said...

Oh and watch that back! I got such a fright to hear you had injured it... very relieved it has improved.

Art with Liz said...

Sorry about your back Cathy. Crazy thing to happen, and all for a cup of coffee! Get better.

Love the Strange Doodles - so happy and clowny and ... strange! And as always, your sketches are fantastic. (Love the dog and cat from your previous post).

simoart said...

Hi
I love your sketches, they are very original and fun. Keep up the good work.

Cathy Gatland said...

I got a fright too Vivienne, but its OK! I looked up Brett Whiteley - wonderful. Thanks for having AG over tomorrow, she will love seeing you (think she's bringing a new Brit b/f!?) Your big son's b'day yesterday and little grandie tomorrow - they're coming thick and fast lately...

Liz it wasn't even for coffee, it was picking up after someone else - very annoying! Glad you liked the strangeness - I didn't have anything sensible to put up ;-)

Thank you Simoart - I love your son's drawings and stories too

Teresa said...

Glad to hear you're on the mend... ouch... back problems are just awful to deal with.

Sketches: Both beautiful. Amazes me that you manage to make an excavation site so attractive!!

Cathy said...

What you say about creating abstract forms from your handwriting is very interesting - and should be easy, my handwriting is so terrible, it is already almost abstract!!
Your two skecthes are brilliant! I don't feel them as tense or awkward, but I know what you mean, as soon as I stop sketching for a few days, I feel the same with my first sketches!

Megha Chhatbar said...

Your sketches are unique and you do those in a very casual manner..Well done:) Happy Easter..:) BTW I have started a new blog dedicated to my sketch work — Art on Sketchbook

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

Sorry I'm such a long way down the list as I've had to miss out my love of checking out my favourites with comments of late, but I'm back - it was like losing a part of me. Loved the whacky girls dancing on lettering - doodling is such fun. Great idea Rhonda to turn it into a painting. Makes me think of Matisse's dancers holding hands in a circle on the world.
Then Kathy I spied your building site and thought 'wow' - now thats a doodle and a half. You are certainly a star with that pen.

Sorry about the back - glad its improved.