Thursday, November 20, 2008

Observe the Elements

Another week, another class, another artistic adventure. For me, this week's class with Danny Gregory was all about giving myself permission. Part discussion, part lecture, part drawing, and all inspiration. We spent time reviewing art myths, such as "to be an artist you must be a professional" and "everything an artist makes is great." His beliefs that there are no rules for our journals and that there is charm to be found in the screwed up and wonky is so freeing to me and makes me feel so much more comfortable in exploring a new art medium. One of my favorite concepts that he shared with us was the notion that drawing is a reflection of your state of mind and that you can never separate the "you" from the drawing. This may seem obvious but hearing it aloud from Danny brought this thought to a whole new level.

We did a number of fascinating group and individual exercises, many aimed at being better able to observe the elements of drawing.


In one exercise, Danny gave us a drawing of a man that he made and asked us to copy it. The catch...copy it upside down. On the left is part of his original drawing.







This is a portion of my drawing, oriented in the way it was sketched








And here is part of my drawing turned right side up. For some reason, his facial expression looks a little meaner in my drawing. But I think they are pretty close. The lesson...by observing and focusing on the elements, you break the image down in such a way as to make even the most complex image easier to draw. How ironic that this becomes easier by turning the image upside down.

16 comments:

MizSmoochieLips said...

That is really interesting about the upside-down! I remember hearing once that a good portrait artist not only paints the face right side up, but then turns it upside down to get all the detail. I guess it all makes sense...

Lynn said...

I was given this assignment in an art class too, with a landscape and a picture of a person. It was interesting to do.
I like the myths debunked too.
Makes it easier to feel good about oneself and ones art work.

Spot said...

I remember trying this with a couple of chairs, one stacked upside down on the other - sure that it would be impossible, but thrilled with the results I got. I love the expression on his face and I think his slump has more weight to it than it might have done if you were drawing it right way up.

artistsgardenstudio said...

I have done this exercise in a class too - it is such a useful one.
Glad that you are enjoying your class.
K

Gillian McMurray said...

Very cool. I often have to paint fur upside down and it is rather disconcerting. It works really well though. Love your drawing. You can hardly tell it from the original.

debra said...

the upside-down exercise helps because it causes you to see the reality of lines and shapes. you're more able to draw what is really there rather than some generic version from your head. we think we know how to draw an eye. but every eye is different.

nice work.

Susan Tuttle said...

I love the way DG thinks -- how fortunate to have been able to take a workshop with him.

Susan

LostLuggage said...

In 8th grade, I did my science fair on a similar topic...I can't remember the topic exactly..but I gave several kids a picture to copy..left and right handers...the test was to see who could copy the picture better...and I THINK the theory was that if you were left handed, you should have been able to do it better... Are you left handed?

Barbara Kleinhans said...

Pick yourself up a copy of Drawing on the Right side of the Brain by Julie Cameron - that is where this exercise comes from and lots more interesting techniques

Chris said...

Isn't that interesting, how we see things differently right side and upside down? Same if we see both right sides of someone's face together, it makes them look so strange than having their left and right sides together.

Lisa Hoffman said...

Looks like Danny is giving you lots of tools to "draw" upon. Your already-wonderful-journals will have a renewed energy and direction....

kelsey said...

The upside down trick is one I too have been exposed to! In my dollmaking days the best way to check how the face was progressing as you were drawing it on the fabric was to either turn it upside down, or look at the reflection in a mirror. It's amazing how quickly you see an errant eyebrow and then fix it up!

Shelly said...

Wow, that is amazing and your drawing is excellent, Seth !! What really blows me away is how much the guy in your drawing looks like one of our fish-and-game reporters from the local news.
Ever heard of Frank Davis? Hope this link works:
http://www.wwltv.com/anchors/images/ice3/finals/frank_davis.jpg
Uncanny resemblence !!

Ciao -
Shelly

Shelly said...

Darn, sorry, it didn't cut and paste completely.
I'll figure something else out.
:-)
Shelly

Prpldy said...

Great job on the drawing and sounds like you learned a lot int hat class!

Jo said...

This is probably one of my most favorite drawing exercices!