“Underwater work has its own difficulties; cold sets in rapidly when you are not moving around, currents and surge frustrate, water quality is ever changing, fatigue saps concentration. But if you sit still in the one spot day after day you become part of the reef and as time passes normally shy animals approach closer and closer until sometimes there are so many fish in front of me I can’t see what I am drawing”.
The underwater drawings are all about time. Time spent observing the forms of the reef, the forces that shape them, the myriad ways life adapts to these and the complex relationships between them all.
Generally the drawings are carried out of a period of several weeks. Once a suitable site has been chosen a reference grid of nylon cords is placed in front of the reef, dividing it up into a number of rectangles. Many hours are then spent drawing the scene, using graphite and plastic on a specially designed underwater drawing board, gradually forming a mosaic – a near life size composite drawing of the reef in great detail. The drawings have a perspective and detail not possible to capture with photography. During and after the drawing lists are made of all the resident and transitory marine life and Roger uses extensive underwater photography to capture detail and record species for identification.