Exercise 4.2 Labour and time


  1. Research drawing methods that take time to use and appeal to you, for example hatching, shading, using small media to make big drawings, scale drawing, hyperrealism, etc.
  2. Choose a subject for your drawing that might benefit from having time spent in either of the two directions suggested above:
  • From the viewer’s perspective, for example, a minutely detailed drawing of a piece of discarded fruit peel might set up and interesting relationship. Equally, an eight-foot high drawing of a two-year-old child might shift its interpretation
  • For yourself. Choose something that you would like to spend time coaxing into being and thinking about. You might spend time creating a hyperrealistic portrait of someone you love, or carefully using a pin to scratch the face of a politician you don’t like. It may well be that the labour becomes the subject and you have simply decided to shade an entire sheet of lining paper with a ball point pen.


Reflection on exercise 4.2 – Labour and time

My Dad passed away on December 5th, just the time I had started Part four- The process. I am in Malaysia and there was no time to go back for the funeral all the way in Brazil, everything happened so fast, my family had to make quick decisions and the only thing left for me to do was following the funeral ceremony via video call and grieve here, by myself. There wasn’t anything else I could think of doing for this project but pay a homage to my Dad. He loved his coffee, espresso, in small coffee cups (the way we serve in Brazil). He had it every morning before eating anything. The first thing in Brazil you offer when someone comes to your house is “um cafezinho” which literally means a short, small cup of coffee. It has always being like that with him after I was married and he came to visit my house. I last saw him in August 2018, when I went to see everyone after 3 years. We had coffee together, we didn’t speak much, he was 84years old and had lost 70% of his hearing. The day I start planning for this exercise I was home by myself and using coffee as a tool media was just right for this exercise. At first I did a big scale drawing in Japanese washi paper- since Dad was Japanese…. It was a scene from the funeral that got stuck in my mind. After the coffin was closed there was a rain of red rose petals falling over it. I did it in the scale of 1.60cm. His height. I liked but I needed more. Two days later, drinking coffee I decided that doing a portrait of him in big scale would fit : time and labour and also my “process” of grieving and reflection on his life and at the same time doing it with something that completes and comforts me: my art. It took me about 6 hours, with maybe two breaks for water and toilet. I was consumed by it. I did it on the flour, squatting, kneeling and laying down at times. My whole body ached for a few days later as if I had climbed a mountain carrying heavy luggage on my back. From tracing the features of his face, trying to depict wrinkles and marks, blending the right amount of coffee to achieve tonal range, it took time, thinking, movement and focus. The smell of coffee and effect on paper completed the whole experience with sadness, grief, peace and satisfaction.

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