Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Drawing Studio - Catching up

No class yesterday because it was a holiday, but since I was home and looking for something to do to justify sitting on the porch in the lovely 70 degree weather, I did some reading and then some drawing. I'd picked up the books my teacher is basing her instruction on and decided it was high time I cracked one of them open. I started with Betty Edwards' second book published in 1986, "Drawing on the Artist Within." This has great quotations in the sidebars, including this gem:

"Seeing is totally different from looking...Art is a specialist's activity in this culture, and is just a symptom of the process of seeing."

Maybe that's why we so often refer to our drive to create as being "bitten by the bug" as if it is some kind of disease? I didn't read long until the bug insisted I put down the book and return to my drawing.

This is the second of the hand drawn on a ground exercises. I still need to go back in with eraser to create highlights and darken around the edges but as for the actual shapes, it is as done as it is going to get. I really struggled with those two fingers curling around the phone. Short and pudgy time after time. Turning the whole thing upside down to work on them was a great help.

Then it was on to my second negative space sketch. Working out the relationships between the lines and the cross-hairs came a bit easier this time. Yes, this takes practice.

And here it is with the negative spaces darkened and all other lines erased. I still have trouble seeing anything but the white space, have to really work at letting the negative dark space pop forward. I scanned ahead in the book to the section on negative space and was relieved to find mention of Artist Mark Wethli's response to the question, "When you want to see a negative space, can you see it right away, the very instant you look at it?" His answer was, "There's always a little time lag before a space pops into focus as a shape. But the lag gets shorter all the time."

Remember my work with creating rubber stamp designs cut from erasers? I really struggled with those designs, partly because I was having difficulty envisioning which parts would be printing and how they would look. I looked at them again yesterday and very shortly I started seeing the negative space for how it defined the design area I'd been so concentrated on. Suddenly the images were popping back and forth, negative becoming positive, positive negative, and I could see how each would work as the stamp. Then I focused on the diamond design that I knew wasn't working but couldn't see how to alter so it would. Bingo! Now I got it and could see what to do to make this one work as a stamp. Proof to me that these drawing exercises are having the desired effect.

But back to my second negative space sketch. I still had the sense that I would see the negative space better if it were not dark. As I mentioned before, I seem to see the opposite of what the majority of people see first. So I decided to test my theory and reverse the light and dark areas of the sketch. As I suspected, now I could easily see the negative spaces. Maybe I'll find something in the book that explains that.

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