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Thread: DAILY UPDATE: Another Month of Abstract Exercises

  1. #105
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    I recognize that last gesture you did!

    Thanks, either I didn't see the red line, or spell check didn't catch that.

    Finding our own interpretations of the reality around us one of those things the exercises seem to draw out of us. It is very interesting. Before you let me jump into the thread, I had been thinking about teaching myself to think that way---start breaking things down into the most basic shapes and go from there.

    I admit, I know little of physics or quantum mechanics to even guess what would happen with a mass-less weightless object in any circumstances. My first thought is of a hologram or ghostly figure, and that any attempt to move it would be through some kind of telekinesis or something.

    Okay, for this exercise, I decided to make good on my interpretation and arrange them in a semi-pattern that reflects this. Drawing on previous exercises, this could be a waterfall or a flower in a vase with a small item like a box or teddy bear next to it. I noticed that I didn't have to look at my paper as much, but my hand still went to the appropriate place on the drawing that matched where I was looking. That was kind of cool

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    I am going to keep using the red pencil I found for my gestures, but only due the full modelling on the last one. Seeing your examples gives me a better idea of what to aim for as far as techniques. Even in the initial sketching phase, I always go light because I am mentally prepared to need to erase and fix. I need to change that thinking and have more confidence in what I create.

    I was looking at your drawings---it looks like you used red pen and maybe charcoal or crayon? And it looks like you used it only to add shadow more than outline or like you did the "scribble" with the red and then went over in the dark.. I tried that but it turned out horrible..so I wasn't doing it right! I didn't scan that result. Do you have a recommendation on the best kind of material and way to use it? Right now, I am using a red (sanguine?) Carbon pencil I have. I have a Sanguine red conte--they are very similar in shade. I have tried my pencils (I have different brands all with ugly results), black conte (block and pencil), charcoal and crayon. All of them literally look ugly to me. Your look awesome, so I am guessing it is how I am doing it. In spite f my pride, I am going to post the five minutes, elevens, and the final product.

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  3. #106
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    "start breaking things down into the most basic shapes and go from there" But that isn't what we did. The scribbles were and are about improvisation and appreciation of the emotional qualities of the medium and the abstractions. The grids jumped straight into composition, the verbal descriptions freed us from the technical difficulties of drawing the things we described. Plus other stuff of course.
    Don't need to know anything about science to do the experiment. If you take away weight and mass the impossible object wouldn't be held by gravity and would go passing by at thousands of miles per hour out of orbit. In the space station the impossible object would be blown around by the smallest draft like a bubble. In the vacuum the ball couldn't be thrown or rolled, it would stop at the tips of your fingers. A knife with no mass couldn't cut, because force couldn't be applied to it's edge. Substance precedes form historically and in the understanding of the individual, and in the objects we see. Someone had to take the substance of wood and then work it into those blocks, give them form. What we see in this exercise is objects knocking into each other.
    Nicolaides isn't teaching a method of drawing without looking, the no look instruction has to do with the value he places on observation, and the desire to have the observation and the action of drawing in exact correspondence, it should be interpreted as the use of exaggeration to make a point.
    How to use a medium? You wrote about the absorbency, looked up the spelling this time, of wood. This is an emotional and poetic quality that it has for you. Every medium, which is a substance like the wood, has a poetic quality. The challenge is to become sensitive to these qualities and to let them be what they want to be. Not everything will have a pretty look, the roughness of a medium can be exciting when used correctly. Different mediums work best at different sizes.
    The mediums were chosen pretty much arbitrarily: faber castell pitt artist pen from the terra set, crimson red prismacolor, conte a paris sanguine medicis.
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  4. #107
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    {"start breaking things down into the most basic shapes and go from there" But that isn't what we did.}

    We kind of are, in an...abstract sense. XD Anyway, this will boil down to interpretation. Shapes are the surface, this is the stuff below the surface but I still consider it part of shapes. We are learning to see it on a different level, using more senses than our eyes.

    For some reason, I equate mass and weight with the ability for an object to move and how it reacts to the environment around it. I guess that is inaccurate, as Light does not have mass nor weight and still interacts with the environment around it ,but not in a physical sense like floating or even moving in the sense that we think of it. So I thought of a hologram. You can't really toss light, but you can re-direct it using the environment and tools (at least to my understanding). So if something is weightless and without mass, then drafts of air and such would not affect it just like drafts of air do not seem to affect light. An object in the space station would still have mass if the air could direct it.

    Substance preceding form is something that I can wrap my head around.

    I am reading through Nicolaides now. I need a feel for it so I can work out my schedule around it. Everything I do is between work and on my free time, which is very sporadic. At least pre-reading it will help me figure out how to work it in..

    Okay, so yours is skill and that whole POV thing coming in to play as well. I don't like things that..."hurt my eyes" as I put it. There are a lot of cartoons that fall into that area. I need flow and "beauty" as I interpret it. Actually, I think it is something that always held me back. Bye-bye stubborn eye!

    Okay, I threw in a new object today. Just for fun and play. I think I am getting this. I am not seeing them as objects, per say...more like...hm...something to mold. Something to play with. That doesn't fit right. The objects are there, but on a different level. It isn't just what I see but what I pick up with it. If I arrange the objects just so, the feeling is different. The concentration of the light scribble line also changes---it follows where strong emphasis can be place. The crayon shows how the object interact with each other whether they are touching or not, it puts energy into the gaps and just kind of begs a story to be told. It also gives a feeling of...texture. Like, you can kind of "feel" the hardness of the wood as the pencil or crayon hits that outline, and you can feel the air as you turn the pencil or crayon in areas of not-wood.

    Does that make *any* sense? Maybe just babbling.

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    I am starting to get comfortable with how to combine these. It is easier on the sketch paper, that is for sure. But something else is clicking. Maybe a few more times and I will understand it. As a thumbnail, it does look really cool. Maybe I am just needing to change my perspective.

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    (wow, just realized this is my first afternoon post in a long time. I usually can't get these up until just before bed!)
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  5. #108
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    When I saw "breaking down" I immediately thought of analysis, but what we've been doing is synthesis, but I get what you were saying now.
    The object is motionless, that is exactly the right interpretation. I used magic in my imagination in order to touch the absurd object, in order try to move it around like any normal object as a way to appreciate the difference, that a real object has momentum and can impact things and balances etc. There is pleasure in movement, in touchability. You kept saying "flow", but I wanted you to see the solidity, the way things knock around. You need to be able to imagine substances, feel the way they move, and from there you can begin to understand the body. The body is a bag of bones, tethered rocks. The substance must must must precede the form.
    Skip Nicolaides for now.
    "something to mold" something to form. The emotional value is in the bodies, we prize and value people and things, drama is in the spaces "begs a story to be told". When you arrange the blocks, their surface limits or contains the core of substance - holds it in a way, the spaces between those surfaces are complementary forms. There is the form of the solid substance, and the form of the space which surrounds it. The air you mentioned is new to me too, that's something that dawned on me while doing these, you can see in the newer images that I started rendering the air.
    There's definitely a bit of a breakthrough in your last drawing.
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  6. #109
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    Actually, it was a good thing I read Nicolaides because now I see what you are trying to say about "knocking them together". And your exercises helped me understand what I couldn't get when I read similar things quoted from Nicolaides. And Nicolaides made me see why my two tone gestures are so different from yours.
    And..
    And..

    Too much. I devoured the book yesterday as soon as I got past the first chapter. I definitely want to explore at least the gesture and contour exercises to help me break my dependency on line and drawing what I see and not what I "SEE". Amazing how the two work together so well.

    I am at least going to do the first schedule or two along side these. Later, it gets more complex and requires items I simply can not get, but I think it will help me with these and my gestures ( and vice versa).

    Okay... Gotta get to work on those studies today. Yesterday was a rare free day. Today..not so much.
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  7. #110
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    Okay, got in the work today. After reading Nicolaides and thinking about what you have been saying, I took a new approach to the scribble exercise.

    First, I made an arrangement not just based on flow, but based on "Knocking" I wanted them touching and not touching at the same time so I could get a sense of the weight in them and the pressure where they touch as well as where they don't. With the light scribble, I combined it with what I came to understand of the Gesture (something I haven't really be understanding correctly and I see why now). I kept with the idea of flow and energy, but I allowed the pattern that I had created to influence that flow as well. It became a kind of vortex, sucking in the air and fly around it.

    Then I took my Conte crayon and began filling it in, this time focusing on the weight---where I felt it was distributed more than the flow. I tried to feel the sides pressing against each other, so I darkened those areas more where they touch and in the center of the triangle and square. The Rectangle felt more bottom heavy---probably because of the length--and the cylinder felt like the greatest mass would be in the center, which contributes to its rolling. I tried to focus on those attributes of the items, why I felt that heaviness or pressure. It became the framework for the vortex I had created earlier.

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    I did try the first contour drawing today Well, not my first first ever. But for the book. It is weird--I couldn't get the full 30 mins..and not really because I went too fast, but because the object I chose was waaay too simple. Mostly round. The second one was better, but then I made the mistake of using a vertical surface so my arm tired before I could finish. It was my remote control for my PS3. I think doing the actual figure would be more beneficial, but he seems really adamant to not use photos so I will see if I can find something a bit more challenging. A few other things I noticed--my eyes were dry lol. Oh, and I felt more like my eyes were trying to catch up with the pencil than the pencil was trying to catch up with the eye. Grooves were easier to feel than other points.

    Looking forward to the new exercises! Oh, and hunting around for color stuff.
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  8. #111
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    I didn't expect you to read through the book so fast, and I thought you where planning to do the whole 3 hours a day routine which I'm not convinced is necessary.
    That's a good little composition. It looks like a bandit who was shot through the chest and there are a bunch of flies buzzing around his body.
    Draw your hand for the contours. Start practicing lines over hand with charcoal every day, go in every direction just to stretch and strengthen the muscles, basically a warm up. When you draw over hand the effort mostly travels through your index finger, when drawing in the writing position the effort mostly travels through the thumb.


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    visualize where it's going to be before drawing it
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  9. #112
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    Reading is one of my strong suits, and the book really wasn't a thick read. In any case, I am re-reading and doing the exercises but only like thirty minutes a day, depending on my time. Three hours a day is really not realistic unless you are a full-time art student. Besides, between the book exercises and these, I get at least an hour each day.

    Thanks! I really had fun putting that composition together

    Tried my hand and an object from the room, attempting half an hour each. May try and mix it up like that more often.. This exercise is way too meditative. It is really easy to just let my arm move and my mind drift. Yet somehow, my arm and pencil still follow the general line for the object despite my not being focused on it mentally. Not good, I know. I have never been good at those kinds of intense focus exercises where you only focus on that one thing for such a long time--especially when that one thing is so monotonous. Tomorrow, I am going to try using my right hand. I am also allowing myself to take a minute to shake out my arm and relax my eyes a bit. That is probably the most painful--the eyes. I had the same problem with the sight-size exercises I did (those super intense ones a long time ago).


    Yay! Random colors! Actually, yours doesn't look so bad at all. I love that off-center gradation of blue. And it looks like there is some kind of alien plant monster where that swirly line is on the opposite side of the gradation.

    Okay, here are my pastels. I used black paper. I didn't realize how very similar many of my shades of pastel are... huh.

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    My flipping practice. This is maybe the next hardest--just after the contours. My mind just can't do this well. It got easier towards the end, so I think I will be doing tons of these haha. I am expecting great skill of mind from this exercise
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    Last edited by anjyil; June 19th, 2014 at 11:00 AM.
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  10. #113
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    3 hours isn't realistic unless you go back in time and attend his class in person. About contours: basically a mark, a line, has to mean something and be compositionally unified.
    I've been aiming to keep these doable within 1.5 hours.
    I was feeling the light blue and the dark blue. I take it as a buffet of color, that's about the gist of the theory for now.
    The hardest for me is flipping diagonally. Ideally should be able to flip the whole page. Also there is a tendency to grab either the dark shape or the light, usually one is easier, but the challenge is to flip the whole thing as a unit.

    I had a little bit of inspiration so I did two.

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  11. #114
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    Man, that would be nice. What I wouldn't give to take an actual full-fledged art class. Just for the experience!

    Yeah, I know the focus should be on the line. I scolded myself well afterwards. I have never had that kind of mental discipline. I have always been a multi-tasker, despite what some research says. I just can't seem to do one thing at a time ::shrugs::: I can say that when I do the contour, it feels like..hm.. like I am carving the image into the paper. I don't know if that makes sense. There is a time or two where I feel like I am running my finger on the edge of the subject, too. it is like the pencil became my finger or something. Tonight, the second one was easier to focus on. I started doing a mental dialogue with myself, describing the line and trying to "feel" it more. If I noticed my mind drifting, I stopped and focused on the spot I felt I left off at and then started from there again. At least I got the "not looking" at the paper down.

    For the flipping, I have found a couple of visual techniques to work. If I am flipping left to right, I just imagine that I am flipped a page of a book and am seeing the printed image from the backside. Vertical to Horizontal, I imagine I am turning it like a dial. Vertical flipping is harder of me to find a technique for. I still try the book technique, but more like a vertical book...I don't use those much so it is harder.

    I *could* turn the paper, but I have a feeling I am not supposed to so I don't Actually the turning the paper for each would be the easiest way, though lol.

    Okay, abstract time! I originally was only going to do one after doing two contours---but then I really felt I needed to relax and the second pastel one really helped (first was watercolor). On the pastel, i tried to locate the "cool" colors, including traditional warm colors that had a cool tinge to it. Actually, most of the pastels seemed to have a kind of cool tint. Must be the pigment and mixing they use.

    watercolor
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    My graphs Despite the challenge, I am enjoying these as well and really getting into arranging them so they fall certain ways. Maybe that is cheating, though. It makes it easier to flip...
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  12. #115
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    The focus should be on the meaning, the idea. The marks we make are conjuring symbols that open a door into a dream world. I know that you have trouble focusing because I read your compositions in the movie still exercise, and I've seen your pictures. Those are good observations about the exercises.
    Ideally for me when flipping these shapes it's like I'm grabbing the shape with the pencil and turning it like that, I've gotten that feeling only a few times.

    I was going to wait and I was worried that it isn't fine art enough but get some silhouettes, type in concept art silhouettes on google. Do silhouettes based on those, grab the shapes from them flip them and start a new design based on that, when your mind freezes up just do a copy of the silhouette you're looking at or just flip shapes until something starts up. Try to look through into the picture, like it's a real thing just blurry. I figure the thread will still be 66% "fine art".


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    Last edited by armando; June 21st, 2014 at 12:08 AM.
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  13. #116
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    Hmm.. I am a verbal thinker. Even my images feel more verbal with some smatterings of impressions/feelings. I am also very analytical. Writing and drawing are my favorite hobbies and I do love to combine them. I find the verbal dialogue helps me focus, but I am looking for the proper dialogue I guess. As I said, I can feel myself shaping and cutting the form into the paper with the pencil. Not draw--actually shaping. It *feels* 3D somehow. And I can sometimes feel like I am touching it, but that verbal part of me needs something to do. If you have any suggestions that might help me smooth over the contour and do it "correctly" that would be great. Everyone processes things differently, though, so I may just have to keep trying and hope I am doing it right. I hate the exercises where you can't get feed back on doing it right because it is all internal. ( I know there isn't technically a correct way, but the ...proper? The way to do it in the way that it was intended and not randomly....um...you know what I mean, right?)

    Okay, off to get started on thread exercises. I always understand new exercises better after I see an example.

    Oh...are we doing the silhouettes on the graph paper or on a regular sheet?
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  14. #117
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    Based off the skillful huntsman book.
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    It's all about belief. That's the most general answer. Be willing to think in different ways, give up the idea that the verbal part of you is your fundamental self.
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