Posts Tagged ‘genius’

This page shows me noodling with a marker. It’s a demo, not on how to do this right, but how to keep working at it.
The class was facing a still life set up and we were discussing composition. How can you make this pile of pots into an interesting, dynamic composition on the page? I said, I don’t know, let’s see, how would I go at this. I taped an 11 x 17 piece of gloss paper to a drawing board and did one take after another. I gained some insight from one failure after another. I started on the left with a big drawing and worked towards the right edge of the paper, until, finally it came together. So that the small frame at the lower right felt like a resolution: it has some life.
This was scribbling, staying with it, working it out. It seems obvious that this is what you need to do. But students usually think that when they tape a piece of paper to their drawing board, they’re going to produce a work of genius. This is it. This may be my big breakthrough. Well, yes, it might be. But it’s all part of a work process and you have to be prepared to slug it out with your drawing tool. Something may develop on your paper but it’s more important that something develop in your mind.
A page like this takes about a minute, certainly less than two. When I do this, I have no thought of producing anything wonderful or impressive or frame-worthy. I just draw furiously, trying to make the elements hang together, trying to understand–visually–what I’m working with. I risk failure all the time and you can see the evidence of that on this page. Risk-taking focuses the mind.
All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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