This was my third drawing trip to Spain with Martyn and Drawing Escapes. I desired to go (again) for the chance to spend a week focused on drawing, with the added benefits of sunshine and being in an inspiring new environment.
The week did not disappoint. I spent the first few days working in every medium under the sun (literally), channelling my excitement for the freedom of time and abundance of interesting things to draw. However, I developed a desire to slow down and focus more, in order to streamline my frantic energy into a process that I have more control over, and could continue to develop in the pockets of time that I would find once returned home.
I turned the focus of my drawings to structure, looking closely at the structure of towns, boats, ravines and their surrounding landscapes. I stripped back my pencil case to a single, mechanical pencil. This was novel for me, as colour is such a large part of my work, yet I found working in greyscale made it easier to focus on achieving the right balance of contrasts. The same can be said about working with a single weight of line; it made me explore new ways of drawing to represent texture, and the pencil lines somehow seem bolder on the page despite being finer than my soft, smudgy watercolour pencils.
Reflecting back on the drawings I made during the trip, I find the more painterly drawings that I created using my usual colourful media exciting as they feel resolved, or capture a memory of the place. However, the pieces in pencil are perhaps more exciting as they have much more potential to be developed and inspire future pieces in other media.
It’s funny returning from a drawing holiday - the blank white sketchbook I packed so eagerly is now an all-consuming brain dump of ideas, experiments, ambitions and problems to solve.
Needless to say, I’m still on the solving problems bit. But that’s part of the fun. I still find it challenging to stay focused - to work through and develop ideas, take leaps, and not get put off when it gets difficult, and not get distracted by new and shiny and seemingly simpler ideas (unless they’re really really good).
I definitely feel like this drawing trip has helped me really see the value in slowing down and trusting a process. Even if it’s not strictly the process I’ll always use, as long as I’m enjoying it or I’m learning something, then just go with it. After all, what’s the rush?