Thursday, April 26, 2012

Not Until da Vinci: Harold Speed 5

My piece of an upcoming project for DC114 of CPSA

This post contains highlights from Harold Speed's Practice and Science of Drawing, chapter 4 entitled Line Drawing. You can find all of the posts in this series here.

"Light and shade were not seriously perceived until Leonardo da Vinci. And a wonderful discovery it was thought to be, and was, indeed, although it seems difficult to understand where men's eyes had been for so long with the phenomena of light and shade before them all the time."
-- Harold Speed

I just love the frankness of Harold Speed. Of course, he's right - how could we have missed for so long? Indeed, how could we each individuality miss it until someone points it out to us in an art class?

In this chapter Speed makes a multi-faceted argument about the importance of line:
  • imaginative works are often strong in line (William Blake and his Job illustrations)
  • as an emotional stimulus (violence or calm, depending on the flow of lines in the work)
  • it enables the artist to direct the attention of the viewer
  • there is a harmonic (rhythmic) sense in line
"no work that aims at a sublime impression can dispense with the basis of a carefully wrought and simple line scheme."
-- Harold Speed

This reminds me very much of my study of notan, done years ago now. Here's a post where I quote Arthur Wesley Dow saying much the same thing as Harold Speed. If you are interested in line and notan, Making a Mark's Katherine Tyrrell also studied this topic - a great post of theory and practice on notan. She also made a lens about all the different facets of her study on composition.

Finally, congrats to the five DC114 members who got works in the international show this summer! They are a talented group and I am blessed to live in NC and be a part of their chapter.

No comments: