This isn’t the first time I’ve had a chain link fence be a part of my sketch. The earliest sketch I found of one was this post, from 11 years ago, where many people made really useful suggestions on how to tackle the subject.
But in looking at this scene in Berkeley a couple of weeks ago it struck me that I was trying to solve the wrong problem: I wasn’t really interested in drawing the fence. I was interested in putting down on paper the experience of looking through the fence at this view beyond.
As I sat in my car, trying to capture the scene that interested me, there were times when I could focus past the fence and see the machinery and equipment beyond it, almost like the fence didn’t exist. And then a glint on the fence or it’s unrelenting grid-like pattern would force my focus back from the scene. And again, I’d try to look past the fence…This back and forth is what I tried to capture here (See closeups below).
I wish I’d remember to do this more often: to articulate to myself what I’m after before putting pen to paper. It helps with focus in my work and with finding solutions relevant to what I want to communicate. It reduces the gap between what appears on paper and what I see and feel in my heart and head.