Into the light

I’ve recently joined the Urban Sketchers, an online group of people from around the world that like to draw (in whatever medium). Their ‘mission’ is to “Show the world, one drawing at a time”. This week there is a theme to draw artificial light. Given it is Christmas there was only one choice for me – the ‘icicle’ lights on my house.

Blue 'icicle' lights, 29 December 2013.

Blue ‘icicle’ lights, 29 December 2013.

There were several challenges to doing this drawing, not the least of which was re-setting the lights to ‘steady’, rather than a fit-inducing flashing sequence. The biggest problem was the colour of the light itself. Being such an intense blue (it gives a real disco fluorescent whiteness to any white clothing), it was a challenge to firstly see my page let alone get some realistic colour onto it.

So, a la Vincent, I put on my camping headlight so I actually had a white light to work on my page. Capturing the intensity of the individual lights and the backwash of colour has proved quite difficult. However I’m happy with this first attempt. I will try to develop a more intense version of this scene, using photographs I’ve taken as I’m not sure that I could take another half hour session sitting in this light. After finishing I got one of those ‘afterglow’ optical effects where everything I saw went ‘orange’. The only other time I have had such a strong effect was in experiencing James Turrell’s work Open Field, at the Chichu Museum on Naoshima Island in Japan.

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