40 West Artist Hana Reflects on her Residency in France
Reflections from Hana Shoup
My month-long residency in Caylus was a wonderful experience. The quiet, medieval town was the perfect setting for making art. I worked every day in the studio, but I also I walked in the countryside, visited pilgrim churches, and saw pre-historic drawings of bison at the caves of Pech Merle.
During one of my walks, I saw barbed wired embedded in a tree. It made me think about man-made intrusions to nature with barriers and boundaries. Then, I discovered a new technique in my process. Using thin paper and charcoal, I made rubbings of stone and wood surfaces and applied them to the drawing. Applying the texture from rubbings made me “feel” the surface with my hands and eyes. Then I drew back into the texture with charcoal and white chalk or cut out lines and smudged with my eraser, which expanded my vocabulary of marks and made a richer surface. My drawings became explorations of texture and the drawing process, while grounding my marks in the tree bark, wire, and rope I observed. The conflict I observed between natural and made-made surfaces provided the catalyst for that exploration.
When I arrived, I was always impatient to resolve something quickly. The residency allowed me to slow down and focus on drawing as a process. Because of this experience, my perspective on drawing as changed. I see drawing as an end to itself, and not just a means to an end. I am extremely happy with my progress during the past month and I’m eager to continue the exploration!