For a ten year period starting in 2004 and ending in 2014, Clark Britton explored the Kansas terrain capturing its scenery in small drawings ranging in size from 5 ½” x 8 ½” to 8 ½” x 11.” Drawn “plein air” with ink and charcoal, Britton collected and compiled these drawings into a notebook which was donated to the collection in 2014.
In a handmade booklet titled Meditations, which supplements his landscape drawings, Britton explains why and how he produced these little Kansas scenes. It all starts with leisurely drives around the countryside where he looks for a subject which intrigues him, paying attention to the time of day and lighting. He prefers a sunny day that produces highlights and shadows that are clearly defined. Standing with pencil and pad, or sitting in a folding chair, Britton absorbs the scene and decides how to compose it. He explains the development of the image as intuitive. Certainly he makes decisions about mark-making, but says that the drawings seem to produce themselves. The process is described as a meditation where time is arrested and the mind is cleared from all distraction. He is one with the experience, immersed in the moment alone: his mind connected only to his hand and the focus of his attention. Britton professes no motivation to exhibit his drawings, saying they often get filed in a folder. Fortunately, this particular folder found its way into the Thomas Fox Averill Kansas Collection.
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