Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I have always loved sketching, and when I was little I used to have a sketchbook with all sorts of drawings of flowers. My family has always had a garden and growing up, I loved sitting outside and drawing everything I saw. I also used to experiment with pastels and other colored pencils. When I was growing up, I used to travel to Bulgaria for a big part of the year to live with my grandparents because both of my parents were working late hours and I couldn't stay home alone. During these trips my grandparents took me to many historic and scenic places around the western part of Bulgaria, and my grandpa always encouraged me to write and draw about the things that I saw. I love sitting down and sketching a statue, or part of a monument, or sections of the old churches that we would see.

I think it is important to pay attention to geometry and math in art and drawing. (ex, vanishing points, scale drawing, perspective, symmetry). During the summers, I had a lot of time to read when it was hot outside; one summer in Bulgaria, I opened a book about the Golden Ratio ( the irrational number phi, 1.61803….) and was really interested in how mathematics ties in so closely to art. this so-called "divine proportion" appears in all things, in the proportions of the human body, animals, plants, DNA, art and music. Many great works of architecture, as well as paintings during the Renaissance, used this ratio to make the works because it was thought to be more 'aesthetically pleasing'. In Leonardo's Vitruvian Man, the ratio of the hand/forearm= forearm/(forearm+hand). Using this proportion, phi, Leonardo da Vinci divided up the entire body of the Vitruvian man. (Another fun fact) The CN Tower in Toronto, the tallest tower and freestanding structure in the world, makes use of the golden ratio. The ratio of its total height ( 553.33 meters) to the height of the observation deck( 342 meters) is the number phi, 1.618

I am always constantly learning something new every time I draw. Looking back, I think that I was really able to figure out my drawing style by taking this class. It also gave me a chance to develop and work on improving what I already knew about sketching. I really see now that I love to work with contrast and deep shades and smearing the pencil shading in to create smokey effects ( such as with skies). I never paid attention before taking this class to how useful it is to have a variety of pencils to establish a range of shades and darkness. Neither had I considered the big difference(and effects) that various types of paper can help create when finishing a work. I am really grateful to have been able to take the time and learn techniques such as subtractive drawing and negative space ( something I had never done before). Because I usually paint, rather than draw, this class was an excellent learning opportunity for me and I also love that I got to see other student's styles develop as well, and examine how each and every single person has their own unique way of viewing the same object placed in front of all of us. My personal favorite technique was subtractive drawing; for some reason, it is the most interesting and realistic way to depict curvature, borders, light reflections and outlines in between objects. I love drawing pottery, architecture (the duke chapel has many cool spots that are great for using this technique), and shiny objects because we can create so many effects with the light reflections.

In addition, this class has also forced me to look at the "big picture"; for example, not focusing on small details but getting the basic outlines down ( and this is a lot of lines, geometry, and proportions) and then starting to fill in the details. Even more, having a 'narrative' behind each drawing really adds a lot of meaning and individuality to each work. I hope one day that I can have the opportunity to travel far and create a sketchbook of interesting places that I have visited, each with its own story.


Images: http://www.bestourism.com/img/items/big/1186/CN-Tower-in-Toronto-Canada_CN-Tower-view_4377.jpg, http://www.dedroidify.com/images/goldenleo.jpg

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