Ruskin believed that everyone had visual as well as verbal capacities that needed to be developed in order to become a complete human being, and that the apprehension of truth depended on the power of observation. – Robert Hewison
John Ruskin was an art critic of the Victorian era. He was an art patron, a draftsman, and a prominent social thinker of his time. I use this quote because we had an interesting conversation about observation, the truth and the illusion of truth. A lesson in drawing sometimes becomes a lesson in life.
I want to tell you we begin with line but more accurately what we begin is a practice in observation. I teach drawing students how to see, and I direct them to put down what they see. I acknowledge the challenge in this exercise considering it is their first long assignment and it is also complex subject matter. The group took on the challenge with no resistance and overall did a great job.
We discuss quality and variety of line. We talk about developing patience. A number of students share they didn’t know they could draw a complicated object like a pine cone. I see the satisfaction in their faces as they share process and result.
One student brings up the idea of a true line and a not so true (stylized) line. The discussion is a good one considering this is only the beginning. We are off to a fine start.
Here are a few examples of the completed studies.
Susan ↓ is an advanced student. Her work includes contour study (the assignment) she also uses other elements of design.