As I mentioned in the introduction of the class, you cannot distort a drawing unless you know how to draw it correctly. In this case we are going to take something realistic and distort it into several different options using the same realistic object. I am going to have to apologize for my drawings because I have never done an abstract in graphite. I need my dripping paint, wall textures and papers to express myself. Nevertheless the purpose here is for you to let yourself go and use your imagination to distort your drawing to your hearts content.
We will take another exercise from Anna Held Audette’s book and try to create from something realistic to something distorted or abstract. Fred Wessel’s approach is to ask his student to take a kitchen utensil or tool and render it and its cast shadows as accurately as possible. “It is important to include as much detail as possible because this drawing will provide the source of material for the remainder of the project”, he says. I think another option as a subject can be jewelery or so many things in a household that we don’t usually think of as an art subject.
“Put aside the tool or utensil, and use your drawing of it to create a second image, in which the original shape is distorted. Imagine it being fractured, inflated, stretched, and so on, and at the same time enlarge it so that it now intersects the edges of the paper, creating new, trapped or negative spaces.”
“Now use image no.2 as source material for the third drawing, in which you identify interesting shapes and patterns and misshape them. Insignificant shapes may become dominant, exciting shapes may be repeated, and negative areas can be filled with patterns derived from the drawing process.”
“Repeat the previous step, using drawing no.3 to make the fourth one, in which you continue moving away from reality toward abstraction.”
“Take the most exciting of the four drawings, and use it as a study for a larger drawing. You may grid it and the larger paper for accurate enlargement or just use it loosely as a point of departure. In this last drawing you should be drawing for the formal (shape) qualities only.” This last step is optional
Please try to keep things balanced and think of composition, although this is one of my weak spots and I might have not achieved this in my drawings. One of my mistakes in these drawings was not picking the right subject for them. As I started on the second drawing I realized I didn’t like the shapes except for the screw and the object didn’t have very many outstanding shapes. Think of this when you pick your object. Be sure it has a lot of detail because that is what you will use in the succeeding drawings.
Thumbnail no.1 Is the drawing of my chosen object with the cast shadows it showed at the time.
No.2 using drawing no.1 I took the most outstanding shapes of the cork screw and placed them at my pleasing drawing the threads of the screw individually and fracturing them. I do not care too much for the other shapes, those finger-like plaques. This is why I think it is important to think about the shapes you see in the object you choose.
No.3 using drawing no.2, I continued to distortion the object. In this step Fred Wessel talks about using the negative spaces and sometimes those negative spaces become dominant in your drawing. A lot of you are familiar and very good at using different pencil strokes to achieve texture. Here is where you can take advantage of that.
No.4 In this final drawing is where the complete abstraction of the drawing comes in. I just repeated the previous one but limited it to shape, textures and shading.
If any of you find it very hard to abstract the drawing, you might be able to come up with and interesting composition of the realistic features of the object.
I have chosen the sites of Anna Held Audette and Fred Wessel not only because of the quality of their work but because in the case of Anna we see an artist that takes advantage of these different subjects and formats to be original and creative. Fred Wessel, is the author of the exercise that will take us from realism to abstraction and he is and extraordinary realistic painter.
Field trip 1
Field trip 2
These drawing should be done with a wooden lead or mechanical pencil of your choice. The size lead is up to you and the paper you use, also. We will not use reference photos for this class. If anyone want to try this with colored pencils or another drawing medium or a special kind of paper, it is fine with me.
Let yourself go! Have fun!!!