IN 1988, I doodled on a piece of tracing paper with a 0.1 Rotring pen. A4 in size and called “Expressions”, I liked it very much, however, I did not pursue the idea any further.
Later on, I showed it to a few people and they liked it too. Trying to bring some continuity to my work, I decided in December 2020 to excerpt a few of the images, brush in watercolours and use soft pencil to draw lines and shade. My main focus was simplicity.
One of my friends wrote: “Selective, subdued muted tones of amoeboid beings? Mind-bending, mood painting...” Another: “This set has a calming effect on me. Trying to explore”.
My comment on Facebook: “What I hope for is this: If you look at a large version of this from far, you will not see the intricacies (like the ways the eyes are pointed). You only see them when you are about 4-5ft away... After the sketch or doodle, the execution is calming, almost meditative. Moreover if you make a mistake with the pencil lines and shading, you can just rub them off. Finally, when you are satisfied, spray on a fixative to protect it.”
Taking a line for a walk: A small excursion
I have known about Paul Klee’s “taking a line for a walk” for some time now, but only as an expression. In early 2022, I began to explore its meaning a bit deeper and, to my surprise, I found the reference drawings to be very similar to my doodle “Expression” above.
Suddenly, a whole world of ideas emerged before me. For example, animator Lesley Keen did a homage to Paul Klee in 1983, showing how lines can come alive on screen.
Architect Ivana Wingham wrote a piece: “Taking the line for a walk — Within Paul Klee’s modernist practice” where she looked at four particular aspects of his work regarding epistemological limits: “the limit of looking, the limit of visuality, the limit of subjectivity and the limit of phenomenology arguing the presence of cultivating ‘critical ambivalence’ in understanding his work as apparent modernist practice.”
Download the paper here
The idea is also great way to illustrate how one can adopt Klee’s concepts in the actual practice of art. It can also be adapted to teach art, especially to children.
As for me, I use paper about A6 in size to take my lines for walks before transferring them to larger pieces of paper or canvas.