On the recent drawing course at Brockwell Park Community Greenhouses we made a collaborative study of a single nasturtium plant. We met each week for 3 weeks, drew the plant, and learnt about it as we drew. The drawing method hinges on the power of collective work to study a plant and to move towards accurate observation and representation. Students start a drawing, and then move round the table to work on other people's drawings. They are instructed to erase and change anything they see as inaccurate. In this way the images build towards accuracy, with everyone contributing. Each drawing becomes a conversation between the students about how the plant looks. To confound matters, they have to consider whether they are sitting in same position as the previous drawer - they might be shorter or taller, which might affect the view, or sitting to left or right, or less upright. OR the plant might have moved! This is one of the exciting things, that the plant grows as you draw - and often turns to the light. The course also explores visual and motor memory, with explanation of the cognitive science underpinning observational drawing. The group warmed up by drawing a nasturtium with their eyes closed, and then discussed what and how we know / remember / can draw about a nasturtium. Here are some of the wonderful drawings made over the 3 weeks, with photos of the nasturtium. The Nasturtium Project will continue, as part of the Community Greenhouses' weekly Drawing Club, which has several plant tracking projects running currently.
The drawings are paired with a photo of the particular view of the nasturtium..