(Above) Virginia Carstarphen
This summer we are working in our sketchbooks to better understand the physical world that surrounds and supports us everyday. During the month of June, the concepts of tracings, filaments, and symbiosis guided our visual explorations and provided opportunities for interpreting earth forms through linear processes.
We started out by bringing a sensitivity of touch to tracings of natural objects such as rocks, twigs, bones, shells, etc. We directed our attention to the external edges of these forms before adding surface patterns, textures, and other distinquishing characteristics. We then investigated layered tracings as a route to abstraction and action words (push, pull, slide, tumble, scar, sweep, and vibrate) as a conduit to energetic connection and transformation of physical forms.
(L) Virginia Carstarphen | (R) Mary Ridley
(L) Mary Gomberg | (R) Susan Gamerman
(L) Kathleen Maltese | (R) Sue Teller
We then turned to the concept of filaments, thin, fibrous lines that exist in and support other parts of nature. Working outdoors, quickly drawn threadlike contour lines were used to interpret both the internal and external characteristics of objects in their natural settings. We then extracted these lines from their source to explore them abstractly as distinct, unique entities and worked with masking tape to create surface textures where filaments could be investigated over the built topography of the page.
(L) Mary Ridley | (R) Kaye Buchman
(A) Mary Gomberg | (B) Mary Ridley
(R) Mary Ridley | (L) Sue Teller
(L) Sue Teller | (R) Susan Gamerman
We also looked at the concept of symbiosis, the ecological relationships, connections, and interactions that exist between living organisms. Watercolor and ink impressions were taken directly from earth forms on only one page of an open sketchbook. These prints, with their unique lines, patterns, shapes, and colors, became the catalysts for imagining and creating synergistic connections on the opposite page. The gutter, or inner margins of the sketchbook spine, was considered as a metaphorical bridge for the visual energies to move across in a mutually advantageous manner.