The first two days of drawing class focused on some basic drawing techniques, including gesture drawing, blind contour drawing, broken contour drawing, and basic perspective drawing. Drawing involves three interrelated thought modes: observing/seeing, thinking/analyzing, and acting/doing. The first set of activities really pushed us to focus on paying attention while observing an object. Doing so demanded that we let go of what we already knew in order to see what was before us.
Each of the three drawing practices required us to either exclusively (blind contour) or primarily (gesture and broken contour) look at the object we were drawing while we drew. The front of the room featured three sturdy tables topped with various boxes. Everything was a shade of white except the various objects that were arranged for our study. Using the pencil as an instrument of our attention, we tried to bring our faculties of observation in closer contact with our drawing/movement faculties. We used the pencil to seek out the information we needed to complete the composition. The gesture drawing requires lots of energy as you stand up and sketch out the form of an object on a large pad of paper. As you focus on the object, you are seeking out its center of energy and form.
To be successful, we had to accomplish two goals. First, getting rid of our preconceptions was crucial in order to draw from our observation Quoting a book title from the biography of an artist, my professor remarked “seeing is forgetting the name of what one sees” – we’ve seen hundreds, even thousands of chairs in our life time; but none like the one before us at this moment. Another key goal for these first couple of days of class has been to learn to make our mark, to develop our own vocabulary of mark-making by employing a variety of line types.