Waking up every morning to complete an hourly session of exercise before starting my class has got embedded into my routine, as the last two months have consisted of exercises from human portraits to model making, that require to be completed within that timeline. Similar to those was the next brief of the routine, requiring to draw different scale of vegetation from trees, to climbers, to ground covers.
While it was supposed to be just another addition to the routine morning sessions that is to be completed, I was anything but that because the topic of the drawing itself had gotten me all excited to start and explore it. Sketching of plants and vegetation always interested me, and was something that I could do with ease and comfort compared to the other subjects of drawing. In architectural drawings, vegetation are always a companion to the buildings whether in plan, sections or perspective views. Its addition feels like breathing life into the lifeless components of the building, and showcasing how the building becomes a part of its surrounding. While they are represented usually in less details in sketches of the buildings, I always found it fascinating to see how the scribbles and their intensity encompass the foliage and communicate the nature of the vegetation present. Thus, having always been interested in drawing and including vegetation as a part of my sketches, this exercise felt less like work, and more of enjoying a free time, like my other hobbies, but just more efficient and useful to cultivate my drawing skills.
While the brief required to choose one of the five scales of vegetation provided to do each day, another important aspect of it was to choose ones that I personal associations with in my childhood and was a part of the environmental and climatic context of that neighbourhood, since it was going to be a part of my reimagined childhood home, that I was parallelly working on. As I sat down each day to choose a plant in each of the categories to draw, I would skim through my memories and remember the types of vegetation that I had looked with the reaction it characteristically brought out. For instance, Palm tree was the first thing I remembered in the category of mid size trees, as I tried to recollect vegetations that towered over me, and made me stretch my ten year old self stretch its sight to look at its top. Another case was how wandering jew plant was the first to strike my memory as I thought of a ground cover that I would have carelessly trampled or stamped on the road, while being busy playing, or how the minty freshness of the mint leaves would make me look down after searching around incessantly for the source of that smell. Each of the plants had such a strong, though not major, association that I could relate it with after all these years surprisingly, reminding me again how these small incidents remain etched in memory unconsciously and get recalled when the need for it triggers them to surface miraculously.
The main and most important aspect of imprinting them on paper carried the same enthusiasm of the other parts of the exercise. While I usually follow the technique of scribbling to represent to represent the foliage of plants, I understood that it wouldn’t be appropriate to represent the varieties in leaves, their form or densities. This required exploration and employment of different media, that I was more than happy to engage with, since I was already comfortable with the subject of drawing plants. Thus the drawings of the five different types of vegetation were explored with as much variety in media that I could think of, from graphite pencils to microns to aquarelles.
Appreciations always does wonders in boosting my confidence in my own work just as how criticism makes me grounded. Positive comments from tutors on my work did just that made me subconsciously push myself for achieving more than the level that I have reached. While being enthusiastic about starting each of my day with what I enjoyed, I realised how important it is to keep the mind happy, while also trying to push it beyond it comfort zone. Thus, while the majority of the day consisted of expanding my boundaries, starting with the day at a comfortable pace was refreshing and uplifting, a routine that I intend to implement further as well.