"What is drawing? How does one get there? It's working one's way through an invisible iron wall that seems to stand between what one feels and what one can do. How can one get through that wall? — since hammering on it doesn't help at all. In my view, one must undermine the wall and grind through it slowly and patiently"
How to produce a landscape with the least amount of signs but keeping its identity?
When I started this project, this was my challenge. The numbers – 38º 37’ 40” N 28º 1’ 2” W – just represented the coordinates of an island (S. Jorge), in the middle of the ocean, where I’d have a privilege view of the Pico island, with a body of water between the islands keeping the necessary distance.
In the summer of 2013, already on the island of S. Jorge, the slow transformation of this coordinates into graphics and photography allowed me to work them later from memory. This island made an impact on me right away; it created energy that I cannot explain by words but it made me realize its relation between the ocean, the channel of water and the Island of Pico. This relationship made me merge the orgy of feelings I was provided with. It was a pleasure to read the volumes of the dark rocks twist themselves through into the sea. The long walks, hiking up and down the coast, allowed me to feel how the island formed itself through the water line. This walks also made me realize the diversity of viewpoints of the Island of Pico. My notion of the huge mass of Pico was strengthened by sketching it in my travel journal and graphic journals, where I started working some abstraction of the landscape.
In my studio, far away from the islands of Azores, I’ve started the work from memory, more rational, synthetized and with the objective to finish the project, looking for answers to the initial question. The production of drawings of watercolors over colored paper originated from feeling the volume of Pico and the volume of the water in constant movement, even when light was dim. Through this adventure, that lasted twenty one days, I’ve never seen Pico with completely clear weather. So, I started to guess its contour from the movement of the clouds twirling around it. The narrow horizontal rectangles create the idea of landscape, so I used them with Indian-ink to the limit of recognition.
This was the same work I had done with the “pequeno oceano privado” (self little ocean). In this case the premise was to represent the ocean as a body of water in constant movement. The representation that I’ve achieved has roots in ancestral graphics that represent water. During this work, I realized that my right hand was too trained in executing this movement, because of dexterous writing, and I couldn’t get the diversity or variability that I wanted so; I switched to my left hand, enlarged the size of the brush and beforehand added brushes of water to the Indian-ink. All these factors together created some unpredictability which allowed the creation of images that would make sense all next to each other. The work of Hokusai and Hiroshige, Japanese engravers from the Edo period, about landscape has always fascinated me. The thorough study of the visual fields and the water-coloring they used in their travel journals allowed them to achieve uncommon but effective solutions.
The result of this work is here displayed so the experience can be felt once more.