Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Great Many Lines

Last week I told you about Ingres' telling Degas to practice drawing a great many lines and about Degas' technique of drawing from memory.

So, being me, I just had to try and combine those things. First I tried to draw from memory the piece I had just finished a few days earlier, focusing on the lines. For a simple piece like this, I was able to recreate it, fairly accurately. After I drew each one, I tried emphasizing different lines or parts of lines. In this case, it didn't seem to make much of a difference, but I wonder if there is something akin to a value sketch here. Just like I would do a few quick value sketches, would it also be worth doing a few line sketches? The value sketches translate into abstract patterns, what about the lines sketches? Would a line sketch translate into abstract shapes, interesting abstract points of emphasis? OK, I'll stop thinking out loud on the keyboard...but I'll keep thinking. :D

Next I wanted to try it for a new piece. So, I took a glance at a new reference photo and then went in the other room and tried to draw it. Again, with such a simple still life, I could reproduce it. So, continuing with the line idea, I started asking myself questions like, "are the lines in this piece, exciting, appealing, the best they could be? Could I tweak them to be better? Do I need to take another reference shot, or can I just create it on the fly?" I began playing with the composition based on the flow of lines alone, without a reference photo. For a still life, this, I think, could be very important, it helps you see where things can be changed slightly to make a more dynamic composition - or where you've got shapes or lines too similar, or at the same height.

In some sense, I'm just trying to convince myself to take a little more time creating a piece before I begin.


Jo Castillo said...

Rose, nice that you are doing the studying and I will get the benefit! Thanks.

Rose Welty said...

Always happy to help Jo - the education goes two ways you know - I read books which just isn't enough, reading your posts gives me "art street cred" :D, that is, it tells me about the real world of art! :D