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I mentioned yesterday that I have been under the weather.  Right now I am so tired that thinking is hard.  I just wasn’t sure what I could write about today – I had absolutely nothing.  Okay maybe that is not true but nothing felt right for today.

Then I opened my weekly Dover sampler.  I love Dover samplers.  One of today’s samples was from the book Perspective Made Easy.  I tinkered a little and it got me thinking.  Perspective is hard.  We think of perspective as making your picture look 3 dimensional.  It’s something that most artists struggle with.

As I am drawing my first challenge (a brick), something occurs to me.  I don’t know about you but when I draw anything box-like, I start with the top.  It never works out.  I looked at my drawings and then I looked at the example.  A brick or box is made up of 3 sides you can see and 9 lines.  I realized that part of my problem is that once I had drawn the top, I couldn’t see how the rest of the lines are supposed to go.  I didn’t realize that the lines are straight, parallel to the side of the paper (or are in this case).  So I started with the corner lines – 3 random lines disconnected.  You can see my shiny result as the darkest brick on the page.  I was proud but it made me realize that sometimes the hardest part about perspective is not the part where we make it 3 dimensional.

So as I am thinking about this blog post and how I was going to talk for a whole page about drawing, I got to thinking about a time when I shared my work with an older artist.  I was in high school and a teacher introduced me to her artist friend.  That friend had agreed to see my work.  I was so proud because I was taking my best pieces.  Things that demonstrated my best ability to draw something realistic.  She told me they were good but completely unfinished.  She wondered where I was going to go with them.

Okay.

I wanted to scream and cry because I was finished.  I had drawn a picture.  I can’t remember what I drew except one was a huge caterpillar.  I had focused so much on my ability to draw that I completely forgot I was creating a picture.  I stomped down all those teenage emotions and listened to her as she explained to me that art was more than drawing something.  I took my pictures home and took a few deep breaths.  Then I went to work.

I soon realized that she was right.  As I added in background elements and filled the pages, the pictures changed.  A simple caterpillar became part of a fairy tale.  That’s the one I remember because it is the one that took me by surprise.  There was a story in that picture, one that was aching to be told.  I could have told any story but that was the story that came out.

So while I’m learning to draw better in 3 dimensions, my perspective keeps changing.  I love how a simple act of drawing a box challenges me with more than artistic skills.  I love how it forces me to look at things differently.  I love how it brings up so many memories and feelings that surprise me.

What I love best is that it reminds me that it’s all about play and learning.  I was a little frustrated after drawing that stupid box 3 whole times terribly.  I know it was only 3 times but I’ve drawn boxes before.  But it was all washed away when I drew it right.  Makes me want to draw 100s of boxes just to prove I can.

I get that this is not life shattering but art is all about perspective.  For a moment, I was a kid again with that feeling of accomplishment.  Remember when the small things were huge.  A box is just a group of lines but put them together and suddenly you can pull rabbits out of them.

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