For this exercise I decided to go all out and try a Rauschenberg inspired collage. I sat looking at my found items on the beach and it came to me that rather than depicting the appearance of the items as a still-life, my drawing should reflect how I feel about a current environmental issue. Nature, wildlife and the environment have always been important to me and the current views in America on climate change I find quite frustrating when the scientific evidence points quite convincingly to a trend of warming temperatures. I wanted to reflect this in my mixed media drawing. I first produced a background in watercolours using a roller and blown bubble colour. The blown bubble colour did not quite work as I anticipated so I adapted the technique as I went along.
I then searched for images of coastal nature reserves and areas of outstanding natural beauty; typed words associated with global warming and rising sea-levels; found varies small maps of coastal nature reserves and wildlife-watching sites; a couple of famous denial quotes on global warming from Donald Trump’s Twitter account; and, a number of newspaper articles on global warming. I pasted these onto my background, joining the bits of map together to form an imaginary coastline and this created my underlying collage. I then used the dried seaweed I had collected from the beach to stamp out frond-like images in a lighter colour on the beach area and used the discarded rope from the beach, dipped in watercolour, to draw wave-like structures over the sea area of the picture. This partially obscured the collage images and text.
Over the stamped land area I roughly drew the seaweed shapes using a bamboo dip pen and then over the whole picture added wave-like lines and text associated with the zones of the beach (littoral zone, foreshore, etc). I finally added information about global warming from the official NASA site (Arctic ice down 13.3% per decade,Global temperature up 1.7 degrees F since 1880, etc).
Is the image successful? I am not sure as it is way out of my normal comfort zone. As a viewer you do have to look at the image quite hard to piece together all the various bits of information in order to ascertain it is both a comment on climate change and the current political climate in America. I quite like this and I like some bits of the picture where the layering has produced an interesting effect. It is one of those drawings which over time I think I will come to like more.
I should of course have taken pictures of my process along the way but got absorbed in making the image and forgot. A learning point for the future!