Rollercoaster
By Nicola Wakeling

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Year
2001
Media
Printmaking
Subject Matter
Urban and Architectural
Reg. Number
P1177
Size
115 x 85 cm

This is an imposing, black and white charcoal drawing of a rollercoaster ride. The drawing is in portrait format, which emphasises the height of the ride. The many drawn lines vary in tone to create a sense of density in parts, and precariously flimsy tracks in others.

Soft contours mix with busy straight structural lines to show the curves and height of the ride, sometimes going off to the left, or plunging off the bottom of the page. Height is emphasised in the almost mountain like shape at the top of the drawing. The eye is drawn back and forth, left to right and top to bottom via the busy lines to the densely drawn bottom of the page showing building like shadows.

Nicola spent one summer working in an amusement park in Massachusetts, USA. The rollercoaster drawing was aimed to “give the viewer the same sensations” as travelling on a rollercoaster, depicting imposing and formidable drops, curves and twists and to make the viewer feel the sensation of flying. The lines are also based on mathematical graphs and “physics equations that explain the force and movement of the coaster ride”. 'Rollercoaster' is a charcoal drawing from her earlier graduation work at Edinburgh College of Art.

Nicola Wakeling was born in Essex in 1978 and moved to Inverurie in Aberdeenshire, Scotland when she was one year old. She showed an interest in art from an early age, taking inspiration from Scottish artists such as Ken Currie and Joan Eardley. Throughout her childhood, Nicola visited the island of North Uist with her family, where she fell in love with the Outer Hebrides. 'Anyone who has ever stood on a Hebridean beach will recognise the emotions that my work tries to invoke. From the vast expanse of sea and sky to the subtle colour and movement changes that come with the turning tide'. She graduated from the Edinburgh College of Art in 2001 with a BA (Hons) in Drawing and Painting followed by a PGCE in Art & Design at the London Institute of Education.

In preparation for her painting, Nicola takes her digital camera and snaps up to 200 photos in the space of 3 hours. She watches in wait for the light to change and for more colours to emerge, manipulating them to ‘create a sense of space and feeling of smallness within a landscape.’ She works in all weathers, preferring the interesting clouds of a miserable day to the glare of the sun in the sea. Once this process is complete, she retreats to her studio and turns the music up. This is where she firstly uses large Japanese brushes to depict larger shapes, such as reflections and large cloud areas, then applies detail with a fine brush. Nicola uses strong colours to harmonise with her subject matter and often adds texture using mixed media techniques involving wax and house-paint.

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