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Archive for February, 2013

121108LinesBad1Looking at art you don’t like is a valuable exercise.  It sounds counter-intuitive, but I recommend that you get yourself a library book that contains your most loathed paintings, pour yourself a favorite drink and ensconce yourself with this picture book in a soft pile of cushions in the corner of your couch. You’re scrutinizing the image of this loathsome work of art and at the same time you’re introspecting, observing what happens in your imagination.  What chain reaction of associations does this image unleash?  Do it one evening, just set aside an hour for this weird exercise.  Then rest a few days and repeat.

Here are the seven line drawings that do not feel right. (See previous post for the five good ones).  Btw, the ratio of 5 good to 7 bad is about right.  I expected a higher number to turn out bad.  Remember, these drawings took only a few seconds, were done without revisions or corrections, one after the other.

You can start your meditation on bad art right here with these line drawings. (Click for enlargements.)

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121108LinesBad5

In the next post,perhaps I should reproduce some of my favorite loathsome works by such luminaries as Max Beckmann,  Richard Diebenkorn, Pablo Picasso and August Renoir.  Would I dare?

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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121108LinesGood1

While we had a still life set up (this takes us back to November, see post for 11.7.12) I took a couple of minutes121108LinesGood3—probably literally two minutes—to  “noodle” with a black Utrecht brush-tip marker on gloss paper, cut down to about 4 x 6.  I had prepared a stack of these because each drawing takes only a few seconds. With a peripheral view of the still life,  I produced twelve line drawings in rapid succession; five of them came out to my liking and 121108LinesGood4seven not. I spread them out on a table and the good-bad was immediately obvious to the students. There’s no need to articulate what exactly made some good and some bad. It was satisfying for me to get such a clear vote. Still, taking time to study these to 121108LinesGood2arrive at some insight about the good-bad feeling, would be worthwhile.

It’s always surprising to me that when students try this exercise, they find it difficult. I call it “noodling” in order to suggest that it’s fun and easy, but that doesn’t seem to do it.

121108LinesGood5I’ll show the five we liked in this post and the seven that didn’t turn out in the next.

Click for larger image.

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13HaroldForestScene1

A student in my landscape painting class produced this study inspired by a photo he had taken on vacation.  It’s about 18” square, oil on canvas.  Pretty lively.  But notice what happens

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when it’s flipped in Photoshop.  More pleasing, wouldn’t you say?  Not that pleasing is necessarily the desired effect.  It’s just invigorating to notice the change in mood.

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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13OrangePeals

Scatter the peels of five oranges on a board. Draw.

Not so fast.

The exercise was set up with the instruction to draw each wedge convincingly with shadows and reflected light and at the same time to connect all the wedges so that they would read as a unit.  Notice, also, that there’s a gap in the line-up, suggesting a golden section.  None of this is easy to execute.

But it looks simple and inviting.  And oranges in January…what could be more pleasant!

13OrangePealsMaggy

13OrangePealsGaby

13OrangePealsAle13OrangePealsLinne

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PicassoSketchesDailyPl

Picasso didn’t like to travel.  When he was in his twenties he would go back to his native Spain every now and then, but always with his painting materials.   Later, when he was absurdly rich and able to go anywhere in the world, he preferred to stay close to his studio.  He worked.  He worked every day.  He died April 8, 1973 shortly after getting up at 11 a.m. after having worked til four in the morning.

PicassoDaleyPlazaJacques Brownson was the architect who designed the heroic, modernist Daley Center with the firm Loebl Schlossman and Bennett.  Richard Bennett, a partner in the firm, asked Picasso to create a sculpture for the plaza, to be its “spirit.”  Good choice: go to the co-inventer (with Georges Braque, let’s not forget) of cubism.  Picasso, knowing that he would not accept any commission because he intended this to be a gift to the city of Chicago (he never visited), set to work.  I don’t know how many sketches he made, but the visitor guide at the Art Institute features six of them on its cover.  I love the fact that we honor the work in progress.

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