Lines and Colors art blog

Tim KnowlesThis is about trees drawing.

No, that’s not a typo for “tree drawings” or “drawing trees”, I mean “trees drawing”.

I’m always fascinated with notions of what drawing is or can be. Tim Knowles has been working on a series of tree drawings that are actually drawings made by trees.

Knowles sets up the conditions for the drawings, attaching markers to the branches of trees and allowing the wind to move the tree’s “drawing hand”. The fascinating thing about the result is that human beings can find meaning and visual pleasure in the seemingly random marks.

Knowles work is on exhibit at the Rokeby Gallery in London, UK until August 1, 2006 in a joint show with Catherine Morland. The online gallery is split between both artists, so flip through the numberd links at the top of the image to see more of Knowles’ tree drawings, as well as his drawings created by placing a plotter in the back of a moving sports car and photographs snapped by a camera on a timer peeking out of a package over the course of being delivered.

There is something primal about drawing, particularly in its most rudimentary form of lines on a surface. The Dadaists experimented with the deliberate cultivation of chance and randomness the creation of art, later exemplified by Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings and drawings, and the Surrealists were enamored of “automatic drawing”, trying to coax drawings directly out of the subconscious without conscious intervention. All of these approaches require the artist to give up control and accept elements of chance into the work.

One of the games we used to play in school was for one person to draw a line or stroke and hand it to the other to make an image from it. Sometimes we would spatter ink on the paper and then go in and work with that as a starting point for a drawing.

Knowles leaves (if you’ll excuse the the expression) his final drawings to the trees, but the whole process is a fun invitation to think about drawing in different ways and maybe loosen up a bit in our frantic desire to control our work too much.

Link via Layers of Meaning

Tim Knowles at Rokeby Gallery


6 responses to “Tim Knowles”

  1. This is really cool. I’m reminded of Chris Noessel’s Calligraphy Machine, which was kind of similar. I really wish we could see some of Knowles’ drawings.

  2. Wow, beautiful work. Some of it reminds me of work that can be generated with the Processing language ( But I like the simple and direct approach of these. Thanks for the introduction.

  3. This is a fascinating concept. It reminds me of the line from Tagore:

    The freedom of the storm and the bondage of the roots
    join hands in the dance of swaying branches.

  4. a drawing made by the wind´s will

  5. Wow! Very interesting creations and idea!

  6. nice!!
    Very cool!!!