Been thinking more about different ways of looking at a landscape, as part of the preparation for the Alaska job. The traditional concerns are about rendering volume and distance. Completely explained in the fabulous Father Ted Series 2 Part 1 : Hell written by Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan. Ted tries to explain the difference between a real cow and a toy one :
Ted : (Holding a toy cow in front of Dougal) ”Dougal, this cow is small. (points out of the window) Those ones are far away. Small … Far away.”
Genius. And everything you ever needed to know about linear perspective. Rendering distance by modulating tones (lighter = far away) and bending contours (converging on the horizon = far away). These are the obvious problems but not the most interesting ones. Let’s see if we can find drawn marks or descriptors for the moving, fluid and unstable bits of the landscape :
- Change (multiple alterations through time)
- Flow (soft through soft or soft around hard)
- Abrasion (hard into soft)
It’s lucky that change, flow and abrasion are also built into the uncertain process of drawing itself, whether you want them to be or not.
- Change by erasing and moving a mark but leaving the trace, pentimenti
- Flow by changes in direction and weighting of mark
- Abrasion by attacking the actual drawn surface, giving it a history
I’m rather uncomfortable with this kind of theoretical stuff, but I so often have no idea what I’m doing till I hear myself telling somebody about it. It’s also been partly provoked by a really interesting book about painting that I read and re read just now : ”What painting is” by James Elkins. A lot of it confused me, which is no bad thing, but it did a wonderful job of trying to talk in the language of paint. I’m trying to ask similar questions here about drawing I suppose. Drawing is the most accurate and sensitive way of recording look-decisions. Often it’s too accurate when the looks aren’t careful and the drawing is going badly. The limitation is that these decisions can only be recorded a a sequence, basically because I can’t think and draw more than one thing at a time. I want to know if I can wire up the drawing process differently – wire it up in parallel instead of in series.
Numbers can do that. Can a drawing ?