As I sat looking through my beach finds for subject matter for this exercise I began to think about how some of the items had been discarded at sea and washed up on shore, maybe many hundred of miles away. The impact of an action in one place can have far-reaching consequences for another place – it was like a ripple effect. This sparked an idea that perhaps my drawing could be of this ripple effect so I began thinking how I would depict this. I eventually thought of my boot causing ripples in a rock pool at the shore (man’s impact on the environment) but of course I did not want to cause any damage to a natural environment. At the coast near Ramsgate is the remains of a Hoverport where most of the infrastructure has been removed and nature is slowly reclaiming the environment. The concrete surface remains and is covered in many puddles so I decided these could be ideal for my drawing.
I decided to capture my shoe going through the water on video and then draw my image from this video.
I drew the image using drawing ink so stretched some A3 watercolour paper onto a board. I masked off the area of my leg and foot using masking fluid, used a sponge to create a light background wash and then a brush with diluted ink to create some of the lighter areas of colour. I created the ripple marks using a broad nib dip pen and ink, diluted with gradually less water, before making the final marks with undiluted ink.
At first, I decided to leave the leg and foot area completely blank to make the viewer look harder at the picture and question what they were looking at – if I drew in the leg and foot I thought it would make it too obvious on the intent of the picture and move it out of the still life genre; however, without it the lines look a bit like valleys and hills. I do think the blank area creates ambiguity and for me symbolises that our impact will one day disappear as we are but here for a moment on geological timescales. However, overall I think the blank area on the right just makes the image unbalanced. I therefore decided to draw in the leg and shoe.
Overall, I am fairly happy with the output from this exercise – the various tones of the monochrome provides the structure of the ripple forms and once you realise what you are looking at you can see the radiating lines of the ripples. Is it a still life as I have included my foot? – well, a shoe is inanimate and so are jeans so I guess it can fit into the genre.