Monday, June 9, 2008

zen & the art of seeing

The Art of Seeing, or Art as a Second Language - that's the drawing class I started tonight. My perfectionist issues came right on up - everyone's blind contour and modified contour drawings of their hands looked like, well, like hands. Mine - not so much. I went so slowly trying to get every detail right (pointless when you spend 80-90 % of the time looking at your hand instead of the paper) that I never got anywhere near a whole hand, like the rest of the class. I was on the edge of tears at the break. So, I went down to the gallery to look at the sculpture exhibit. There was not one single piece that I would want to live with, but in terms of provoking a reaction, they were successful.

One piece - A Visit from Pan - wtf. It looked like a rusted metal torture device, all linear and square, with a large, partly rough, partly polished stone suspended in the center by an iron band. Two thoughts occured to me. One, the artist knows nothing about Pan, who is a wild passionate party god of the forest. Two, Pan really didn't like the artist if this is the impression he made. Maybe the artist saw Pan's Labyrinth, which upon reflection, would explain alot about the sculpture.

So back to class, where the drawing exercise continued, with an ear of corn replacing the hand. The second time through the exercise, the rules changed. 2 minutes to draw the entire ear of corn. Ready - go. I didn't think, I just looked at the corn, the pencil moved with my eyes, and the essence of the corn appeared. It was like catching a wave - everything one in the moment. Groovy. The teacher gave me a star. "What was different this time? What was going on in your mind?" Nothing. No chatter of 'oh, I suck' or 'what's that supposed to be?' Just 'this line goes this way this part is shorter get the whole thing...."

The next drawing of the corn was 15 minutes, not as much of a rush, but still nothing in the mind but 'this line goes this way, this part is shorter, this part goes down....'. It looks like an ear of corn. I got another star. I'm childish enough to enjoy that. No one else got a star.

It's not that mine was the best. I think I got a star for my mental shift, for going from going so painstaking slow trying to get each detail right along the way that the whole wasn't close to being done to letting go of the details and capturing the essence of the whole thing. For almost an hour, I didn't judge myself. It felt good.


Bridgete said...

The perfectionist thing is exactly why I was only able to do art as a photographer. Apparently when I had to do abstract stuff in my fundamentals class for my art minor I was "good" at it according to the professor. Maybe because I wasn't thinking anything either. I was more thinking, "well, it's supposed to be abstract, so I'll draw some lines and see what happens." But I was still never satisfied, I have much more fun playing with the little tiny technical tweaks I can do both in camera and in the darkroom (or on the computer, nowadays) to make a great photo. So it's cool that you're learning to be satisfied without the perfectionist stepping in and telling you that you shouldn't be. =)

Ginger said...

brava diva!!! brava!!!

the rhubarb pie was good....first one of those i've ever ried and actually liked. rhubarb, that is...not pie. :)

too much sugar for my system though, so i only had a bite. thanks!!

Chucka Stone Designs said...

Switching back and forth between the left and right brain is the single most difficult thing about drawing. You are awesome for regrouping and getting the star after the break! And then another woo hoo!

When I was in school for Interior Design the first class we took was Drawing. I remember the contour drawing -- the cold sweats came rushing back with your post lol It took me almost 1/2 a semester to even understand what contour was lol. It will become second nature & you will wonder how you ever found it difficult :) Sounds like you're already on the way there!