In Flight – abstract drawing


The forms in this drawing are inspired by butterflies that I found massed on the ground in Coral Bay, Western Australia. In death they remained connected to one another as they were in life. Their shapes are now transformed, but continue to connect with one another by fine filaments and tracery, still flying.

Drawings in my travel sketchbook were the starting point for this drawing. The basic forms were drawn in very loosely with a straggly brush using watery Liquid Pencil on Yupo paper, with no real attempt made for accuracy, it was more about finding fluid forms.  Once the Liquid Pencil was dry I started drawing in to the shapes, intensifying the curves and adding body to to them, creating linkages and form. There are plenty of stories to find within the details.

Below are detail images – please excuse the colour, photographing monochrome images is a little tricky. The paper is very white and the Liquid Pencil is sepia, so the brown tones are correct. I drew in using an 8B graphite pencil and a Staedtler omnichrom pencil, which is quite sticky, and takes well on the shiny surface of the paper. The paper size is 59 x 42 cm.






Author: anna warren portfolio

I draw, I paint, I am a printmaker. Always searching for the interesting detail in the world around me.

16 thoughts

  1. You do ethereal so well. I am as interested in the negative shapes as I am the positive ones. Since the ‘butterflies’ are so beautifully dispersed over the page, the white of the paper itself is as much a part of the drawing as what you have drawn. The drawing is lighter than air and one that I could stare and stare at. In fact I can imagine lying in bed staring at it (when I don’t want to get up) as it is a piece that encourages thoughts, and at the same time encourages no thought. (In a zen way.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I like negative shapes too – they can be just as important in the composition as the positive shapes, forming suggestions maybe. I like the idea of someone lying in bed, reading the drawing, being transported to … wherever you please! Something I like about this random approach to drawings is that I find things that I had no idea were there. Even preparing these details I had a few surprises!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Did you know there is a name for that? Apophenia or pareidolia is the ‘human tendency to seek patterns in random information’. Its something I really like, but only to a certain extent, sometimes finding a random dog’s face (for example) in the middle of a landscape can spoil it entirely, as that is all you can see from then on, but I think a drawing like this is asking people to find things in it. I’m always interested to hear what people can see!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoy the actual marks you make, how delicate they are and transparent. They appear to be of no weight, floating in space. I thought of them as decaying flowers, the way petals become transparent and curl. They are forms with so much beauty.

    Thank you for the name apophenia/pareidolia. I always enjoy this type of information. It would be interesting to know when this word was first used. Says a lot about humans and the common behaviors over the years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the connection you make with decaying flowers, another of my favourite subjects! I wanted to get a sense of delicacy, an almost ephemeral quality with these forms so I’m delighted you see it.

      I came upon the word pareidolia by chance a little while ago, and apophelia more recently – I had no idea that the activity of finding forms had a name of its own! But it is something that people have always done I suspect, or those of an imaginative turn of mind! Thank you Cathe!


  3. Although these drawings were inspired by dead butterflies the drawings have such life to them. Their nature of being between abstract and something more realistic leaves more for the viewer to bring to it their own experience even if not shared with you. I love them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Nancy – I’m glad you can see the life in them. There is something comforting I think in the eternal circle of life and death, and sometimes things can continue with a new and different existence.


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