Exercise 1 – Drawing on the familiar

Note:  Lockdown level 5 was in session while this exercise was completed.  There was no other option than to draw from the location (home) and immediate areas. 

Location:         Main areas in the house being heavily used during lockdown.

Materials:       A4 sketchbook, reeves oil pastels, chalk pastels, colour pencils and pens.  Normally A5 sketchbooks are used but I wanted to push for bigger.

Areas drawn:   Sitting room and front room.

Figure 1

Figure 1 is drawn as a one-point perspective from my chair.  I’m able to see my desk and the worktop that sits on either side of the room.  I’m beside a window so often the sun shines in strongly so the blinds are pulled.  You can see a little of the garden but not much.  My room is often in a state of disarray.  It isn’t how I like to have it, but it is how I seem to be these days.  When it’s clean or manageable, I’ve got ‘approved’ marked down.  It is doubling up as a teaching space while I work from home.  Compared to others, I know how lucky I am to have a space such as this.  It has taken some of the pressure off working from home. 

However, the disarray and mixed books and pens can easily get out of hand.  I look forward to when I can remove the work element from it and just have it as a creative space again.

I’ve drawn two other images for this area.  Both are direct shots of my desk. 

Figure 2

Figure 2 is first person perspective and then Figure 3 is a bird’s eye view of the desk.

 I used oil pastels for drawing the desk in a one-point perspective.  These are something that aren’t used often, so it was important to try them out.  There is no variation in the line so it becomes a chunk of information on the page.  I like the mess of it but it isn’t easy to navigate around it.  However, considering the mess I was reporting on, it was fitting that the image reflects the chaos.

In Figure 3 the bird’s eye view shows what I see before I begin drawing.  In this case I felt the half-eaten cake was important to include as it captures information on real moments before drawing.  Quite often if I’m anxious or stressed about study or doing an exercise, I reach for a sugar hit.  This time it was tea and cake.

For figure 3 I used pencil and pen only.  The lines created with oil pastels were suitable for that drawing, but too heavy for the other drawings.  Here it was more important to use colours and not just a black pen.  Colour pencils seem to be one of my favourite tools to use.  They’re quite gentle and glide on the page and there is a sense that you can build up the image.  It works well here but might not be as effective in a busier reportage drawing.

Figure 3 – bird’s eye view of my desk

Figure 3

 The next location is my sitting room.  Over the last year we’ve found that the space is unusable by others during the 9-5 work slot.  It is impossible to have another person in the same space while working.  It has meant that the sitting room has become more of a room for my husband while the front room has become my space. It’ll be a relief to let it be just a sitting room when lockdown finally ends.

Figure 4

Exercise 1 ended up being a revealing exercise and so I’ve included that as part of the reporting.  Clearly anxiety has come into play over the last while, it’s not something I’m used to having so it has been a surprise to discover how it impacts areas of my life and study.

Figure 5

A second part of the sitting room is dedicated to a large table.  It can fold down but it rarely gets used for much because of the size but for gaming it is ideal.  Activities that occur in this space include board gaming. 

Figure 6

This final drawing is a reflection on what is familiar from my front room.  Over the last year I’ve had the view from my desk which is limited to other houses.  It isn’t the most inspiring view but you do notice people’s habits.  My neighbours habit started to become something of interest. 

For the level of lockdown we are at and have been in for some time, it would appear that my neighbour is an exception to the rule.  I don’t know her very well, but her constant movement during a time when we were restricted to move, became a strange thing to observe. 

At the time of drawing this, she was absent.  She normally visits this house a lot in one day.  She doesn’t appear to live there but visits her daughter and grandson.  However, she does live there sometimes.  It was and is the frequency with which she would use her car.  A trip down to the shop would be in her car, even though she could walk it in less than 3 minutes.

It was included as an observation on how small your world becomes when in lockdown and how much you observe routines in other people as well as yourself.

Figure 7