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Going monochrome and some other changes in my drawings and maybe my life.
Iris in watercolor

Drawing for exhibitions versus drawing to learn

My last exhibition, 'Ansichten' at the Budge-Foundation in Frankfurt am Main ended in March, with the joyful surprise of selling, among others, one of my largest works to date, 'Ostkreuz im Mai 2011' (70 x 100 cm). This enabled me to travel to London in April, both to hand in my application portfolio to The Prince's Drawing School (I'm applying to their postgraduate program for the second time this year), and to participate in a drawing workshop at the same place. After that I could take some time off and stay with a friend on Mallorca for three weeks. My first holiday since I became a freelance artist—last year was a year of frantic deadline driven activity for me; having four exhibitions was wonderful, but also left me exhausted, and weary of having to produce 'finished' works on command. Yet I like both the act of drawing and my drawings best when I focus on learning and exploring rather than producing. My getaway gave me a lot of time to do exactly that, first instructed at the workshop, an experience that was almost entirely new to me as an autodidact, and then left to my own devices again in a very quiet corner of Mallorca. 

Stuff on the floor of the little hut I was sleeping in.

My stuff on the floor of the little cabin I was staying in.
 
I decided to leave most of my watercolor paint at home and go monochrome for at least the time of the trip. Not because I do not like working in color, but rather because I feel they make things pretty a bit too easily; I look and think harder, and therefore learn more, for now, when I do not use them. Colors are seductive, but I feel like I am not really ready for them yet, not how I want to be. 

London skylineLondon skyline

Two sketches of skylines in London passing me by while sitting in a bus. I did a whole bunch of them, and would love to do more. Suddenly the chronic congestion on London's streets is something I can welcome instead of being annoyed by it, as it gives me more time to finish a line...

Northwold RoadNorthwold RoadNorthwold Road

Three versions of a corner of Northwold Road.
 
In London I stuck to my pencil, the simplest and most convenient of my drawing tools. Deciding on one, and only one tool beforehand frees up a lot of mental capacities for looking and thinking about how to draw, too. But on Mallorca I ran into a problem: after making some drypoint plates with a lot of hatching my repetitive strain injury problems caught up with me. Usually the pain in my hands and arms is triggered by working too much at a keyboard, but apparently for now drawing techniques using tools which make it necessary to exert a bit more pressure and/or use a lot of hatching are not good for me, either. I switched to techniques based on brushes for the rest of my stay, and worked larger than I usually do, in order to be able to draw in bigger movements. This is part of the reason why many of the images in this newsletter are marked by a shadow across the centre—they are ca. 30 x 40 cm big, twice the format of my scanner, and thus stitched together from two separate scans.





An iris drawn in exactly the way that I won't be drawing in for a while...

Lemon tree buds in ink.

Plant drawn with a brush pen.

Some plant drawings made with a brush pen.
 
While I do miss my pencil very much, this change of tools is a welcome challenge, forcing me to do things differently. I am very curious where this will lead me. I also enjoyed working monochrome so much that I think I will stick to it for the rest of the year. It reminds me to focus on exploration rather than finish. After all, Vincent van Gogh drew almost exclusively for ten years before allowing himself to paint—and he is one of the artists I admire the most. (I do not, however, intend to stay monochrome for that long. But you never know...)

Carla the cat

Carla, one of the two cats keeping me company on Mallorca, together with a dog, a cock and three chickens.
 
I have been back in Berlin for a week now, trying to adjust again to the pace of more or less frantically doing deadline driven things: on 2 June I will be participating in the Open Air Gallery on the Oberbaumbrücke in Berlin for the 4th time (I'll have booth number 12, come by and say hi if you are in town!), 22–23 June I am conducting a workshop in location sketching in my home town of Weinheim*, and next week I will be in London again, as I have been invited for an interview at The Prince's Drawing School this year! I am quite proud of this in itself—they have hundreds of applications each year and only invite about 40 candidates for interviews, from which they accept about 25 into the program. I am tantalizingly close to an opportunity that would have far reaching consequences for me, not the least of which would be to move to London in just a little more than three months' time. Yet I try to keep my feet on the ground; it may not happen after all. First, and maybe more important in the long run, I am seeing a doctor about the pain in my arms and hands today—while I cherish challenges, at some point I do want to be able to work in pencil again, with lots of hatching, and make drypoint etchings, and all of that free from pain.
 

Thank you for reading, and be nice to your arms and hands...


Oona Leganovic



*For those of you reading German, here the info about my workshop: 

Mit dem Zeichenblock durch Weinheim. Vor Ort skizzieren in Bleistift und Aquarell

Viele Zeicheninteressierte haben Schwierigkeiten, die für rasche Skizzen notwendige Spontanität und Beschränkung aufs Wesentliche zu erreichen. Dieser Kurs unterstützt durch einfache aber effektive Übungen die Entwicklung einer lockeren Hand und die Fähigkeit, Wichtiges von Unwichtigem zu unterscheiden. Er ist gleichermaßen für Anfänger geeignet, die erstmals das Zeichnen erkunden wollen, als auch für Fortgeschrittene, die bisher dazu tendieren zu 'überzeichnen' oder schlicht gerne schneller wären.

Es wird sowohl 'trocken' in der Volkshochschule gezeichnet, als auch vor Ort unter freiem Himmel, wobei alles was einem begegnet als Motiv in Frage kommt. Die vermittelten Techniken sind besonders geeignet, um ohne ausufernden Zeitaufwand ein persönliches Skizzenbuch oder ein visuelles Reisetagebuch zu führen.

Sa, 22.06.2013 - So, 23.06.2013, 10:00 bis 15:00 Uhr
Kursort: Weinheim, Volkshochschule, Raum 1.2 und außerhalb
Kursgebühren: 67,00 €
6 - 10 Teilnehmende
Die Teilnahme kann hier gebucht werden.


Iris bud


 

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