Also on the way to the Turners was an exhibition of drawings from the Tate collections. I've always tended to leap straight to paint after only cursary attention to drawing ,(probably because I love colour so much). However since my recent course I've been drawn back to line after experimenting with acrylic inks used very freely. The display of drawings was very diverse from finely detailed traditional pencil sketches to contemporary animation and monoprints.
One of the first drawings in the landscape section that caught my eye was this preparatory sketch by James Ward for his large painting of Gordale Scar. There's always a shivery sense of connection when you realise you've been trying to capture the grandeur that other artists in past have struggled with (Turner also painted here)
I like the subtle simplicity of the piece above - something to aspire to. The lines are softly blurred in places (the medium is chalk).
This charcoal ( and chalk) vigorous drawing of Peterbough Cathedral (below) was placed next to a very intricate drawing by Turner of Ely Cathedral. What I love about this is that it speaks of space and hints at delicate stonework and tracery yet is achieved with bold line and subtle rubbing out. It lets the viewer fill in the rest.
( Dennis Creffield : Peterborough Approaching the West Front )
Chalk and rubbing out of marks were also used by Tacita Dean on her huge blackboard drawings. The use of multiple images give a wonderful sense of motion and although mainly drawn in outline, there's a hint of volume given by a small amount of chalk left after erasure. Quite wonderful.
I came away buzzing. Besides some notes in my sketchbook to jog my mind I was excited to find on the Tate's website that all their collections have been digitised and you can search its database in many ways (including every page of Turners sketchbooks) - I could browse for hours. I've also just signed up for their online course which looks at a variety of artists' methods with excercises to try these techniques for yourself. A great follow up to the Studio Journal Course and a bargain at £20.