Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bottle Collection: Preliminary Drawing

18 x 24, pencil on panel

I worked a lot more on the contour drawing, as you can see I'm having a lot of fun with all these waves and flourishes of wax paper.

I thought it might be interesting to show how I am cross-referencing movement curves, or pathways. The red lines are the obvious ones, the finger-like folds fanning out from the spiral-crushed center. What is exciting is to find the secondary lines of movement, the green lines. Together they make a meshed network, and you can find them running nearly any direction.

Wherever these curves intersect there is an "event", a significant landmark.

This approach really helps me plot and organize what at first seems like an overwhelming jumble. The network of pathways continues to subdivide in deeper and deeper complexity, so the deeper into the drawing, the easier everything starts to have a logical place. It always amazes me to see that even something "random" like crumpled paper has an internal logic.

One of the most important things I have learned about drawing is to not be afraid to change what I've put down before. I think it's common to draw a nice area and then realize it's in the wrong spot, and kind of "fudge" the drawing all around to keep the "good part".

What I have come to understand (and continue to try to understand) is that the overall logic is the most important thing, there is no "good part" of a drawing if the whole is not harmonious.

Thus I am ruthless with my eraser. Inevitably as I am drawing (and I think anyone who draws will relate!) I come to a point that doesn't "fit". I thought everything was right, but I get to a more detailed area and realize it's totally the wrong size and shape to fit all the detail that belongs there.

I've given up trying to preserve anything at all. If it's wrong, it's wrong, and I think in order to learn to be a truly accomplished draughtsperson we have to be willing to scrap all the previous work in order to improve the whole drawing. I did it many times for this drawing.

There must be a determination to really understand what is happening instead of preserving the pretty bits... anything less is merely the artist's ego dragging the drawing along to congratulate itself.

A drawing should only be a record of the artist's investigation of truth, and ego only obscures truth.

There you go, another life lesson from drawing.