“the pine-cone doesn’t lie”

Art is the lie that enables us to realize the truth.
Pablo Picasso


New semester, first critique. Students put up one wall of very good renderings of a natural object.

I quote Jose, a Drawing 1 student, in this post title.  He says during critique, The pine-cone doesn’t lie.  It always tells the truth. I came back to it over and over and it never changed, it was always the same. I’m the one that changed. I was the one that was lying.

I consider calling it a day, so the class can go home and meditate on that one single thought, it’s pretty wonderful. Jose also notes how he had drawn and redrawn, and because he was not at all familiar with a pine-cone, he was forced to look and then look again, and again. He titles one of the studies CSI because, he explains, if his pine-cone was killed or went missing he would recognize its DNA, because of all the intense observation.

Excellent!

His last (and 4th study) drawing is below.  He only had to complete one, but obviously, he wanted to get it right. Here is a simple (though not so easy) and well observed contour study of his one unique pine-cone.

Pine-Cone Sunrise by Jose

The drawings that follow are all Drawing 1 student’s work.  Some of them have never drawn before. And though the assignment is a focus on inner and outer contour, a few do include texture. Clearly, this group is already paying attention. For the record, they work 18″ x 24 and use a Sharpie Marker…no erasing, forcing them to work slowly and really consider what they put down. It’s not effortless, but they sure make it look that way.  I know better though.

Androa by Alexis

Pine-Cone Slam by Bri

Ultima by Eddie

by Michelle

Recognition by Alberto

Cono del Pino by Kyle

Pillars of a Pine-Cone by Andres

Below are a couple of the Drawing and Composition II students. Crystal (working in oil pastel) and Kim (working with charcoal and conté) have studied with me before. They pick up right where they left off in Drawing 1.

Seed-Pod by Crystal

Pine Cone by Kim

As the students are working they talk about the spiral form that they begin to note in their pine-cone.  During critique when they are commenting on the accuracy of other student’s work they bring up this spiral pattern again. It helps them identify if what the work we are discussing is real (based on what the student sees) or imaginary (based on the imagination). We really are off to a great start.


…and here is an explanation of the Fibonacci Spiral seen in pine-cones…as well as many other things in nature.


6 thoughts on ““the pine-cone doesn’t lie”

  1. WOW! Your drawing class has a bunch of talented young artists! Love the quote by Jose and the drawings you have posted on your blog! Congratulations to you Monica and to your students!

  2. Monica,
    This was interesting, I am living in southern Spain and there are so many pinecones here! i have been collecting and drawing them, they are endlessly fascinating. There is one cone that becomes a branch and then as the branch grows through it, the cone becomes a bracelet encircling the new branch.
    Wonderful work by your students!

  3. Maybe at some point you’ll post some of those pine-cones… or your drawings of them. The one you describe, as a bracelet… sounds interesting. Who knew there were so many varieties.

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