Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Studying

... no drawings at the mo. Am filling sketchbooks with notes and exercises. I had a sudden craving to catch up with some Basic Art Education. I only had a smidgen of that in school, and when I enrolled at Art college it seemed everyone was so far ahead on the basics that I could never catch up. There was a phase of doing coloured squares and copying compositions for a couple of weeks or so, and everyone would look at my results and shake their heads. I remember a tutor saying "I can't tell if this is very good, or really, really bad," and one of the boys I made friends with later told me he thought I had a twin because it made no sense that the same person could be striding around like she owned the place in one lesson and then be swearing hunched over a sheet of badly painted squares in gradations of blue the next.

Perspective was always the worst... people kept telling me "Learn the Laws of Perspective!" and I was just SURE that they weren't laws, but tricks or maybe rules. Not like the law of gravity, anyway. I learned all the stuff about vanishing points and suchlike. But I also learned about the human eye, and I just didn't understand how a picture that the brain constructs from something mapped out by a couple of curved surfaces with a tiny focal area in the middle which jump around all the time could be translated "lawfully" onto a flat surface by connecting some dots with straight lines. "This can't be science!!!" I kept thinking. "They're just making it up. Until someone explains this to me PROPERLY I'll bloody well ignore it."

Anyway. I cricked my neck yesterday, and ended up in bed for a the afternoon, reading a book on persepctive from one end to the other, and thinking: hey, this isn't about a realistic depiction, this is about making it look right, and taking the movement of the eye and the tricks of the brain into account... and then I just spent a long time imagining rotating cubes floating over landscapes with curved and moving grids, and imaginary horizons radiating out at all angles, and I think maybe I understood something at long last.
I need to understand things visually, else "rules" don't mean a thing to me...

Colour theory is next. I want to understand why it all is like it is...

4 comments:

Eric Orchard said...

Hi Viviane, they carry Alexis' work here at the boutique stores. I've been admiring his stuff for some time. I'm bringing down a couple of your books to show them. It shouldn't be a hard sell.

Stephanie Roth said...

Ugh! Perspectives...I have been doing the exact same thing. I gave up on learning it the "proper" way years ago when I was in college and on of my (landscape architecture)professors was attempting to lecture on it and he got so confused that he just stood in front of the chalk board talking to himself....I really admore people who can tweak a drawing in an extreme way using persective and have it look like it makes sense....What book are you reading? Mine is an old one called "Perspective: A Guide for Artists, Architects ana Designers" by Gwen White.

Viviane Schwarz said...

I read "Perspektive leichtgemacht" by Phil Metzger, it seems pretty standard... but I also read a chapter on it in the Tate bookshop this afternoon which seemed rather exciting, in a book called "Drawing with the Right Side of your Brain" by Betty Edwards, apparently a classic, and she makes a distinction straight away between classic strict perspective and perceived perspective (or something like that) and it sounded very likeable. - The lady's got a site at www.drawright.com which i just stumbled across when I googled for her. Seemed like a useful book actually. I wasn't 100% convinced that it is quite the holy grail that it is presented as (nothing I saw in it made me go A-HAAA) but it was very friendly and felt like a good antidote to dry and elitist lecturing (in the style of "if you don't understand this, give up art NOW") which one gets so much of in drawing courses. Maybe I'll get a copy... Does yours have any real useful stuff about the sort of vanishing points that aren't on the horizon - for things that aren't parallel to the ground? Like... how to pick them?? Mind just says to put them exactly above or under some other vanishing point you're already using. But with no explanation WHY. Humph.

Viviane Schwarz said...

Hello Eric! - Yay, he's a popular man isn't he... thanks for marketing me!!! That's so nice!!