Sunday, January 11, 2009

Genetic Influences

These are the only two drawings I have from my father. Can you tell he was an engineer?

One of the first major projects for my drawing class was called One to Five. The instructions were to draw the numbers one through five overlapping (fitting within 16X20 inches), then to add and delete lines as necessary to form pleasing shapes. The next step was to use colored pencils to fill in the shapes as a way to learn tonal shading.

I wasn't happy with the clump of numbers I had drawn in class, so at home I drew the numbers out separately. I cut them out so I could arrange them like a collage. In class, I already knew the number one wanted to be a giraffe. With the cutouts I could arrange the numbers to better fill up the page and give breathing room to the animals. I then transferred the layout to the drawing paper.

The following week when all of the students put their works in progress up for the critique, it was immediately apparent that I had been channeling my dad. Other students had rubbed their colored pencils into stubs. One student went through three black pencils. Another student described how she had been angry when she worked on one section, but had felt better when she worked on another. Not only hadn't I felt that much emotion within the entire past year, it hadn't even occurred to me to express emotion within the drawing.

Since then I realize that you can either go with the flow of your natural inclinations or, I guess, decide where you want to go and work your way to that point. For now I'm going to go with my natural inclinations although they aren't really what I would have expected.

And as for the five animals...the giraffe is the one, the snake is the two, the hippo rear end is the three, the zebra is the four and the elephant is the five.

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