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Posts Tagged ‘dying on the page’

I don’t want to be predictable, but if you’ve been following these posts, you know that whenever I get to talking about dynamics, tension and counterpoint in an image, the Lift-Right flip cannot be far behind.

Look at this. I flipped Linné’s original drawing, horizontally.   Isn’t this a funny image!

How can that be?! Same factual information.  Yet in the original (see previous post) the lone leaf sticking out of the margin looks mysterious and important.  Here in the flip, doesn’t it look ridiculous, clunky and contrived?  The bare stems in the original were energetic and full of promise, but here in the flip, they go nowhere, they seem to die on the page.  The peak in the horizon line is tired here, where in the original it feels up-beat.

I don’t theorize about this in class or give specific instructions. But we often play with cropping, i.e. placing strips of white paper over a finished drawing to see what happens.  That’s an important seeing exercise because it focuses on “what makes an image.”  These marvelous compositions in my students’ work come about because I encourage them to practice seeing  how elements on the drawing page relate to one another and the edge and the negative space they create, rather than just what they depict.

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