This drawing in mud came about as a result of trying to make a drawing from my Willow form in a turnip planter. I started to think about the structure of the form and the layering of lines of willow from the inside out. In a way it made me think about how you might capture the depth within these layers through drawing. In a way it came about in mud because I happened to be sitting close to where my husband kept some clay. I used some old boards previously prepared with gesso, one that also had some previous landscape work in charcoal on it.
I spread the clay on the board in a circular shape then used the end of a piece of willow to make the marks, whilst trying to work with a similar intuitive rhythm that I seemed to achieve when working with the willow.
I do quite like the effect achieved, there is a sense of depth that has the effect of trying to draw you in.
This was on a board that had previous landscape work in charcoal. I just worked over this spreading clay over half the board. Into it I drew from memory the shapes from the large willow drawing. Some of the areas I then scratched out with the willow stick. I also used charcoal to extend the drawing into the other half of the board, then added more marks in both clay and charcoal. I found this experiment quite interesting. It made me think about the layering of one image over another, about the materials and how they work together or not, about drawing from memory.
Having mad then from elemental materials I decided to leave then in the rain to see what would happen-
Of course most of the clay was washed away, but I found it interesting the charcoal marks on the right remained, hinted at what had been there.
Thoughts on using mud-
I think the idea of using mud in an art work does prompt many questions.
I found myself using it quite spontaneously and felt quite comfortable about it at the time, but later found myself wondering if it was a material I really wanted to use in my work. I quite like the idea that it is a material of the landscape and relates directly in a physical way to the place in which you are working. Its fragile, ephemeral nature could pose challenges in how you might show your work.
I know the Contemporary British Land artist, Richard Long, uses mud in many of his works. It was interesting to watch this video of him making a mud drawing, River Avon Mud Circle at the M-Shed, Bristol in 2011.