Indoor Nature

Final Major Project, Visits, Visual Research, Walks

Nature Drawing Session at the Barbican Conservatory

As today is a Sunday, and therefore the only day of the week the Barbican Conservatory is open, I decided to go along and practice my observational drawing as well as documenting the nature space as inspiration for my FMP.

Initial observations

I arrived a little after 12 when the conservatory opens and walked into such a unique nature space situated in an iconic brutalist structure. Unlike Kew Gardens where you lose your sense of place and immerse yourself in the environment (as described by Guy Debord’s theory of the Derive), it’s much harder to do that at the Barbican Conservatory because the ratio of plant to architecture feels more of less equal. So there are times where I feel like I can get lost in the nature but then other times the harshness of the brick floor, exposed pipes, glass roof and concrete walls bring me back to the city. Either that or a quick glance through the windows and you can see the rest of the Barbican in its entirety. It’s like an urban botanic retreat.

Because I knew I wanted to draw I made a conscious effort not to take as many photographs to encourage myself to observe more as usually I rely on the fact I can use my photographs to finish off the drawings.

Drawing Difficulties

As mentioned before, Sunday is the only day the conservatory is open so naturally it was very busy with tourists, families, budding photographers and artists therefore at times I found it difficult to spend as long as I would’ve liked on some of my drawings. But I was pleased that I was able to record what I did.

Suggestions on Further Development

My major self criticism is that I notice a pattern of only drawing in black and white which is problematic and my drawings lack depth and another level of detail that makes them visually interesting and thus capturing the environment better. The yellow bamboo drawing works really well because that one other colour asides from the black just lifts the mage. I should aim to use at least one other colour asides from black or blue to perhaps encourage myself to be a little more experimental in the way I record. This doesn’t just have to be done using pen but perhaps I could push myself to use paints or inks, despite that being a little difficult when drawing on site.

Also I should think about rethinking composition when I draw as opposed to just looking at everything straight on and drawing it but instead changing perspectives and looking close up.  I like how abstract the image can become when I alter that, such as the one pictured below.



View from below looking up at the layer of plants hanging from the concrete balconies.





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