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Posts Tagged ‘hard’

The still life with the doll was set up again the next class.  This time I suggested an entirely different use of the visual complexity they were presented.  Instead of really drawing what was there, just pick up a line here and there and quickly put that down on paper.  Use a marker, specifically the marker made by Utrecht, which has a wonderful brush nib.

To work in this manner (let’s call it noodling)  you’ll want to work fast and fill one sheet after another.  “Fill” turns out not to be the right word at all, because this kind of mark making, I think, is most effective if there are few lines.  As the students were doing their own drawings,  I sat down and did fourteen drawings, one after the other, 8½ x 11 each, in just a few minutes.   The first few pages were not good because they had too many lines.  Restraint turns out to be difficult:  you get into the play of the lines and you’re tempted to just pile them on.  The trick is to draw impulsively and immediately respond to the kind of negative space the line creates.  After eight drawings, I finally produced four that were “right.”   When they were all spread out in sequence everybody could see why the last four worked and the earlier eight didn’t.  No explanation was necessary.  This is strong stuff.

The next step was to tear a snippet of color paper from a pile of collage material (magazine pages) I had spread out.  A scrap of red, say, the size of your thumbnail, can then be moved around on the page. Some placements are obviously “bad” and some are immediately and intuitively perceived as “right.”  What makes a spot right, has to do with the expectations that the line drawing has set up, the tensions and the shape of the negative space.  But what’s amazing is the unanimous agreement of where that bit of red should go.  Really, strong stuff.

Only one student took my suggestion and worked in this manner. This noodling with lines is considered to be hard.  How can this be hard, you may ask, if you can do any old squiggle that doesn’t have to represent anything.  I don’t have a post-length answer.  But I’d like you to try this:  just pick up a marker and squiggle a line on a piece of paper.  Maybe a dozen more pieces of paper.  See what happens.  Then see if you can relate a tiny bit of color to that line. See what happens.  This is not hard like lifting cinder blocks is hard.  It’s hard in the way dancing is hard if you’re nervous about looking foolish.  We’ll get back to this topic again in a future post.

(Now, here are the rejects.  Click for larger image.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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