Thursday, 31 July 2008

Zen Hen

The heatwave has broken and given way to a tropical style rain storm. I am sitting surrounded by paints and inks and crayons for the first time in 3 weeks and as I began to get my equipment set up for the day ahead, I began to think back to the hot sunny afternoon we spent at
Baylam Rare Breeds Farm last week. high in a clear blue sky we watched swallows and swifts wheel and dive, in the grass about our feet, pygmy goats and Kune-kune piglets truffled and nudged for food...and basking in the dusty, sunlit corners by the barn, and in grassy pens were fat, contented hens. It was a really lovely way to spend an afternoon with my sister and her boys and it inspired me to draw one of those lucious, plump feathered girls we saw.

Following a recent exercise I did from Danny Gregory's book ~ 'The Creative License', I decided to attempt a drawing of a Pekin Hen using the zen method of drawing. Studying the image of the hen for a while I followed the contours and curves of her robust and rounded body. Tthe zen principal involves not looking at the paper, so in effect you are drawing with just your eyes and your pencil.

I used Derwent watercolour crayon for my outline (as it merges well with watercolour paints and inks afterwards) and was really pleased with the result. If you were to attempt this way of drawing, I would encourage you to glance at your work if you need to desperately reposition your pencil at any point (whereby there is no obvious way of continuity without doing so). I did this a couple of times but Im now wondering if I could have attempted a complete zen work without looking at all and what it would have looked inner critics would have probably had a field day with me, laughing hysterically at an ill positioned eye etc!!

Perhaps I might try that next time.

If you're interested in learning more about zen drawing/painting, here are a few of links for you that might entice:

'The Zen of Seeing' by Frederick Franck

'The Zen of Creative Painting' by Jeanne Carbonetti

and check out this fabulous artist: Elda Abramson - it is my dearest wish to go to Eastbourne and take part in one of her painting weekends!

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