Posts Tagged ‘Val Nelson’

In my recent post ‘Mark making research…work I like‘ – my final example of work was by a Canadian artist named Val Nelson who uses the ‘blind drawing’ technique in this example of her work.  When I emailed Val to request her permission in using her work as an example – she was very kind in her response, granting me full persmission and encouraging me to try it myself.

After finding an old red moleskin diary from 2011 (completely empty as per each preceding year) – I am using this as my mobile sketchbook instead of throwing it away.   Over the years I have collected many old scrappy books so this seems the perfect opportunity to start using them…recycling makes me feels good.

Learning to draw from the beginning again is frightening.  I read in the college guide that you should draw anything, anywhere and practice, practice and practice more… and so it begins.

One of the things I am trying to learn is to sketch quickly without hesitation or fear of making mistakes…so I take less and less time on each drawing..

Starting in the kitchen…


Kitchen at work. 5 minute sketch.

Craignure Pier. 5 min sketch.

As my blind drawings are a little chaotic, I often end up scribbling over them to create some kind of form.  I like the freedom of line that drawing without looking at the paper gives you – it becomes much more exciting visually.


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I did a little research on the internet today on mark making.  Amongst the suggested artists (Picasso, Klee & Van Gogh) – I found a few other examples which I particularly like…

Joel Shapiro, "Untitled", 1969, Fingerprints on Graph Paper.

I hadn’t thought of using my finger to make marks..even though that is what we did at school…it looks good.

Jo Lankester, Echlin St Quarry Juxtaposition 1, right panel, 2010, Etching Aquatint

Jo Lankester is a printmaker who uses a combination of drawing and mark making – it hints at landscape but allows the viewer to read into it in other ways.

Cai Guo-Qiang. Gunpowder

The piece above is by Cai Guo-Qiang – a chinese artist whose work includes drawing, installation, video and performance art.  I was unable to find a date or a title for this unfortunately but it is one of his works which explores the properties of gunpowder.  This work led to him working with explosives on a much larger scale and his ‘explosion events’ became his signature work.

Cy Twombly, Untitled, 1970

 Cy Twombly was an american artist famous for these large scribbled..’graffiti like’ works.  These are 2 of my favourites.  I think his use of colour is exceptional.

Cy Twombly, "Wilder Shores of Love"

Val Nelson, "Madama Butterfly, Act 2, 2010" Ink on Stonehenge Paper

Val Nelson is a Vancouver based artist who also writes a blog called “Optimistic Pursuits” which details her passion for drawing, exhibitions visited, inspirations and includes some of her work and works of others, inside and outside of the art world.  It is an excellent blog.  This piece is a drawing she did in the dark (blind drawing) at the theatre – layer upon layer of fast sketching detailing the scene.  It is a technique that I would also very much like to try.

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