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Transcript of Observational Drawing
Still life is defined as a collection of inanimate objects arranged together in a specific way.
Artists select objects for their still life for a variety of reasons: symbolism, personal interest and relevance to the artist's life on a personal, societal, religious, or philosophical level. The way that the objects are arranged and depicted can evoke a wide variety of emotions, depending on their arrangement, as well as the lighting, color choice, and handling of the paint.
Natural foods such as fruit, vegetables, and meat often show up in still life paintings. The symbolism of the food depends on whether the food is fresh and ripe or decaying. Food in a still life often points out our mortality and the ephemerality of earthly existence. When the food is fresh and ripe, it can signify abundance, riches, and the bounty of the upper class. Decaying food can serve as a reminder of our own mortality and the inevitability of change.
Flowers have long been a favorite subject matter for still life painters. The meaning of flowers in a still life painting depends upon the type of flower. It's also important to take into account whether the flower is fresh or wilting. In general, flowers can symbolize innocence as well as impermanence - a reminder of the shortness of our existence and the fleeting nature of life's earthly pleasures. Flowers symbolize nature and the four seasons. Flowers in a still life can reflect an interest in science and the natural world. Flowers were depicted for aesthetic purposes and also at times they were used as religious symbols. Individual flowers had their own meaning, such as the rose for love, the lily for purity, and the sunflower for devotion.
Feathers appearing in a still life painting can symbolize a scientific interest in understanding nature and birds, acknowledging a connection to world around us. In religious paintings, feathers can symbolize virtues such as hope, faith and charity. Feathers can also represent freedom (because they enable flight), the sky, and the heavens.
When skulls or bones appear in still life paintings, they often have a moral purpose, with the aim of keeping humanity's morals in check. Skulls symbolize mortality and ephemerality. They are a reminder of the fleeting pleasures of life. Skulls in art also represent inner contemplation, eternity, and life beyond the earthly and visible.
Objects in a Still Life
Continuous contour line drawing- A contour drawing created without picking the pencil off of the page.
Cross contour drawing- Cross contour lines are parallel lines that curve over an object’s surface in a vertical or horizontal manner (or both) and reveal the item’s surface characteristics.
Blind contour drawing- Blind contour drawings are those created by looking only at the subject, and not the paper while drawing.
Arrangement and Drawing
1. Find a small group to work with (each table)
2. Each group:
-Choose objects that combine to create meaning.
-Arrange objects (hierarchy, overlap, proportions) to create a still life on your table.
1. Objects (meaning)
HOW TO CREATE AN EXCELLENT OBSERVATIONAL DRAWING: 11 TIPS FOR HIGH SCHOOL ART STUDENTS
TIP 1: LOOK AT WHAT YOU ARE DRAWING
TIP 2: DRAW FROM REAL OBJECTS WHENEVER POSSIBLE
TIP 3: DON’T TRACE
TIP 4: UNDERSTAND PERSPECTIVE
TIP 5. USE GRIDS, GUIDELINES OR ROUGH FORMS TO GET THE PROPORTIONS RIGHT BEFORE YOU ADD DETAILS
TIP 6: BE WARY OF ELLIPSES
TIP 7: KEEP THE OUTLINES LIGHT
TIP 8: HAVE A GOOD RANGE OF TONE
TIP 9: USE MARK-MAKING TO CONVEY SURFACE QUALITY AND TEXTURE
TIP 10: INCLUDE / OMIT DETAIL AS NECESSARY
TIP 11: INSERT YOUR OWN SOUL
Drawing from observation: forks tied with string. This superb observational drawing exercise is one set by artist and teacher Julie Douglas.
This shows the first stage in an observational drawing (which later becomes a painting) by artist Douglas Flynt. Basic forms are carefully mapped out, ensuring proportions are correct.
This diagram by Rachel Shirley illustrates some of the common errors when drawing an ellipse.
These are photographs of a glass with horizontal bands of tape around it (sourced from IDsketching). These photos provide a superb illustration of how ellipses – when viewed from any angle – are rounded (as opposed to pointed) at the ends.
This beautiful observational study was part of an IGCSE ‘A’ grade Coursework submission by Georgia Shattky, from ACG Parnell College. It shows folded fabric hanging over the corner of a wooden dresser. Note that there is not a single black outline within the work: edges are defined solely through variation in tone.
This ‘A’ grade IGCSE Art exam final piece was produced by the talented Claire Mitchell (ACG Strathallan College). The surface qualities of the objects are skilfully depicted: furled cauliflower leaves, with the finely textured mottled surface of the cauliflower.
This observational pencil drawing of a sandal, cloth, shoe polish, brush and newspaper was completed during an IGCSE Art examination by Emma Phillips from ACG Strathallan College. This A* work is a good example of how it is sometimes beneficial to omit detail. Emma has included only part of the text, ensuring that her final work doesn’t become over-cluttered.
This beautiful graphite drawing by April Coppini is a perfect illustration of how an artist can inject some soul into an observational work. While forms are depicted in a realistic, highly accurate manner, they are surrounded and sometimes covered by smudgy, beautiful marks – marks that are only visible in the eye of the artist. And this is where the magic lies.
Observational art is drawing or painting from life. The image is taken from real life observation (not from a photograph or the artist’ imagination). Traditionally the subject matter is rendered as accurately as possible.
This quick drawing captures the energy and movement of the subject. It does not necessarily have to be realistic. Gesture drawings are often very expressive and allow one the freedom to loosen up and not worry about small details.
Why are the two objects together? What is their Meaning?
Visual metamorphosis is the term we use to indicate shape-shifting in art. It allows an artist to transform a shape representing one item into a similar shape representing something else. This, in turn, allows one meaning to be hidden behind another. It is a visual technique equivalent to allegory and metaphor in literature.
Use observational drawing techniques to create a metamorphosis drawing.
We will explore different ways of drawing from life:
*Why is observational drawing important in creating a work of art?
1. In pairs, brainstorm objects that could be used for the metamorphosis drawing to create meaning.
2. Write or draw ideas on sticky notes to share with the class.
1. Choose an object to draw from life that will transform into a new object.
*What is the meaning of the two objects?
2. Create a prototype that illustrates how your object will transform.
*Will the metamorphosis take place on a page that is vertical or horizontal?
*How many stages/frames will you have?
*Display your prototype during the gallery walk.
3. Use the observational drawing techniques discussed in class to draw your object.
*Remember to keep looking at the object your are drawing.
4. Morph your object into the new object.
*How will the shape transform?
Quick Assessment #2
Contour drawing, is an artistic technique used in the field of art in which the artist sketches the contour of a subject by drawing lines that result in a drawing that is essentially an outline.
The purpose of contour drawing is to emphasize the mass and volume of the subject rather than the detail; the focus is on the outlined shape of the subject and not the minor details.
Blind Contour Drawing
1. Find a partner.
2. Push a paper plate on the end of your pencil.
2. Draw your partner without looking at your paper.
Continuous Contour Drawing
Continuous Contour Drawing
Quick Assessment: Part 2
You will need: newsprint, a drawing board, and charcoal
1. Draw the the figures in motion that you see
2. Think about the line of the body
3. Think about movement
Quick Assessment: Part 1
1. 30 second sketch
2. 1 minute sketch
3. 3 minute sketch
Juan Sánchez Cotán
to create a metamorphosis drawing...
*How might observational drawing techniques help you to create a metamorphosis drawing?
Importance of Drawing from
1. Look at the objects as larger shapes
2. Place the larger shapes while thinking about hierarchy, overlapping, and proportions
3. Refine, refine, and more refining
4. Think about the light source
5. Use both additive (adding charcoal) and subtractive (using eraser) drawing techniques
How do you draw something in motion?
How do everyday objects become meaningful?
How do you draw something from life?
Why is drawing important?
Cut a square or rectangle out of a card-stock. Use this as a tool to help make compositional choices, observe your subject, walk around and select the best vantage point. This tool will help you define the edges of your composition and how you want to situate the subject within that frame work. If you use this tool make note of what in the visual plane two opposite corner reference, this will help you to continually frame the subject consistently.
HOW TO MAKE A View finder:
* Exit card-compare your experience of drawing quick sketches in the classroom to your experience of drawing dancing figures that constantly move.
objects ~ meaning ~ number of frames ~ page orientation
1. Draw an object or your hand.
1. Draw an object or your hand.
* Once finished, place all three drawings in front of you and discuss your experience with your table while answering the question:
APHS: 10 Students show skill development when creating art by selecting appropriate drawing techniques for visual representation and demonstrating effective relationships between the elements and principles of design (e.g., using line to demonstrate movement).
APHS:11 Students demonstrate perform/communicate skills in visual arts by using innovative visual metaphors in creating work of art.
APHS: 19 Students approach artistic problem solving with an open mind and creative thinking by bringing ideas learned previously into the development of work and generating a variety of strategies/techniques to address those challenges.
APHS: 20 Students develop effective, personal work habits by demonstrating commitment and sense of purpose, demonstrating understanding of health and safety issues related to the arts, developing rigorous criteria and setting goals for themselves, and using a variety of learning strategies.
1. Choose 6 colored pencils
2. Draw the figure in one color
3. Draw the figure in the new pose in another color
4. Continue drawing the pose in a new color each time
Quick Assessment: Part 2
Early examples of still life works appear in Greek and Roman mosaics and Roman Wall paintings
Still lives fell out of favor but they reappeared in the Middle Ages and Renaissance
The term still life first appeared in the 17th century Dutch inventories when the “hierarchical canon of the genres” was established. Still life was given the lowest ranking (thought of as lowly reproductions of leftovers and things that did not move).
The still life experienced a resurgence in popularity in the early 19th century with the rise of the impressionists
Since its resurgence, still life has gone through many variations
1. Draw a shoe from your imagination.
DO NOT look at a shoe from a picture or from life.
2. Draw a shoe from life.
How are your drawings different?
"How does contour drawing help an artist draw from life?"
Contour drawing is:
Contour drawing is not:
Quick Assessment #1
On a sticky note write as many elements as you can think of and post them on the board under the following:
Respond on a sticky note:
On your paper write your thoughts:
Each group move to a different table and draw the still life created by a different group. Continue to switch until you have drawn every still life.
10 minutes for each still life
"The most important thing when modeling a form, is not the physical resemblance but rather the attitude and expression of an emotion that can be read from head to toe in the figure."
Look at the shapes created by the position of the body.
How does the shape of the body change?
1. Place your prototype on the table.
2. Place a blank sheet of paper next to your prototype.
3. Take 10 minutes to view and respond to the work created by your classmates.
*What are the successful elements?
*What elements could be adjusted? Why?
4. Look at the responses from your classmates.
5. On the bottom of your prototype write how you will change your piece as you begin your final work.