Like Alice in wonderland would of said “Curiouser and curiouser!”
And that’s exactly how I felt after looking at artist Alison Carlier’s website and after finishing this exercise. What is going on? Was my second reaction!
As I browsed on her site I came across random videos of The artist speaking, or making vocal sounds. A bit weird. Not a lot of explanation why. I was confused and didn’t understand what her work was about, until I came across a video recording of someone’s hands peeling broad beans while music was playing (Miles Davies). The person was pealing the broad beans with her hands and you could hear the crunch of the vegetable and the sound of the dropping beans into a tradicional Spanish clay bowl. As I watched the video the light 💡 in my brain lit up. This was another way of doing a sketch in this case a sketch of sounds and actions. In other examples in her site, non verbal vocal sounds where used. Alison Carlier uses video or sound rather than paper and paint. This artist website is deliberately design with missing information so that the viewers can fill in The gaps, maybe by drawing the sounds. For some reason I felt very nervous doing this exercise even though it was about ones interpretation so there was no right or wrong.
Initially I started doing repetitive mark markings by listening to my electric tooth brush. I was tensed and didn’t want to miss a sound, I felt pressurised to perform – by myself! Eventually I relaxed and let go.
-The sound was quite loud (big) but constant, no higher pitches. This was my first attempt in doing this. I used a graphite stick to do my marks on A2 white card.
-I listen to my printer: This stops and starts and then finds the same rhythm. I used charcoal for this creating a softer un-even line -easier to be looser.
– I am getting addicted and started listening to other sounds. Above is the markings of the sound of a lawn mower. The sound pitched higher when the lawn mower hit a stone or the ground but kept to the same rhythm. I used graphite for this sample. This gave me the option to do sharper lines for the sounds that where clearer and harder and slightly fuzzier marks for the softer sounds.
-I wanted to try this exercise with chalk as if inverting the colour, still keeping it monochrome. Above is my interpretation of the sound of my husband car starting. I started enjoying this process. I found that you have to be fast and really zone out from other sounds ( which is hard). Using chalk with this sample made a cleaner line against the black card. The chalk was smooth and easy to slide against the card. Chalk has the added bonus of being able to smudge and create thicker lines.
– I went back and did the electric tooth brush with black ink and a till roll (courtesy of work) the paper is not as strong and it’s a bit slippery. I used a tooth brush which made for some lovely markings. This is one of my favourites as there is a variety of markings. The ink combined by the toothbrush has also created a variety of thicknesses and textures. It is also the first time I use a till tool as my canvas. The benefits of using a till roll is that I am not limited by when my paper runs out allowing me to record the different sequences of rhythms. I felt limited when using A2 paper earlier on this exercise as the space on the paper runs out.
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-More examples; this time listening to the sound of a kettle, a supermarket check- out and a drill. It was interesting to see my different interpretations and it has made me realised the variation in sketching. I think moving forwards I am going to use more mark making in my sketches. I have used photography as a way of collecting moods and ideas. I think I will start experimenting with audio and film. I have found this exercise very enlightening as I finally understand how using different marks can enhance my drawings. I have also entered another level of creativity that I hadn’t considered previously.
Moving forward, as I continue this module I will consider not only what type of media I will use for sketching, but something that has blown my mind is the different outcomes I can archive by thinking ahead. If I had to do this exercise again I would listen to the sounds first and then plan what canvas to use. This could be anything like sand on a beach, earth, paper, uneven paper, card, plastics, etc. The markings can also change by the choice or selection of tool I use; this could be a self made tool like a branch, a leave of a tree moving, a straw, tooth brush, thread in paint, marbles,etc. Basically the options are endless!
I have also been open to the idea that sometimes less information can be advantageous allowing the viewers imagination to finish the story/ piece. So much to consider! So much to practice!
I think from now on I will be listening to sounds in a different way. I will try and get into the habit in carrying my small sketchbook and log some of my findings.
above; is another sample of my markings while listening to a kettle. I tried to express the bubbling of the water by using a shaky line. I shall go away and ponder 🤔 on this exercise some more.