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Drawing Water 

Fall 2021
Instructor: Brian Davis

Fluid Technics for Making Landscape


Play – a powerful human cognitive method for exploration within bounded space – is an ideal nondiscursive means for studying modeled space through intricate work and calibration. The objective of this approach is to understand without destroying wonder, to discover patterns without reducing the complexity. In the words of polymath Herbert Simon, “the aesthetics of natural science and mathematics is at one with the aesthetics of music and painting – both inhere in the discovery of a partially concealed pattern.

- Brian Davis and Alex Robinson, “From Solution Space to Interface” 2018

Currents of a Creek

drawing using recordings of a nearby creek | graphite and watercolor on paper

In this course, the aesthetic and dynamic properties of water were explored through careful observation and playful experimentation. Studies on landforms and water movements were done on local rivers and creeks and through the use of a geomorphology table. This experimentation or ‘play’ resulted in representations that emphasized process, both the physical dynamics of water moving as well as the process of crafting a drawing. 

Eddies, Landforms and Sol Lewitt 

digital annotation over images of geomorphology table


Surface Flow 

Inspired by the technique of suminagashi or paper marbling, this work documents how water moves over small piles of rock. Working on the geomorphology table, ink was carefully applied to the water’s surface upstream and captured on paper downstream. The resulting paper was scanned, and, along with accompanying photographs, assembled into a collage.

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