I’ve had some classes in drawing. I’ve read up on perspective and I’ve practiced drawing scenes in front of me. I find that I must continually check to see whether I have properly estimated the area on my two-dimensional paper to match the corresponding view of the three-dimensional scene in front of me. With practice, I have gotten better at doing this.

It is also very important to draw the correct proportions for faces. I can draw a generic face pretty well. I rely on the standard: draw an ovalish shape with the long axis placed vertically; divide it in half and place the eyes on that line; divide in half again below the eyes and place the nose there; in half again for placement of the lips. The results look just like a face.

The trouble for me comes when I try drawing a particular face. I can draw distinctive lips by looking at their component shapes, likewise the nose, eyebrows and cheekbones. The problem is putting them all together in correct proportion. Sometimes I just look at the light and dark places and try to create the same shapes of those shadings on my paper. Again, proportion becomes an issue.

Vision of the world

I started reading a book about Paul Cézanne, whose work presaged cubism and other modern art of the early 20th century. Cézanne’s artwork has been cited in relation to neuroscience and the workings of the visual system. I am just at the beginning of the book, but what struck me immediately was the description of his later work: “Fundamentally, they are static: not inert or dead, but active as a tower, a pier or a buttress in active. The drama in which they take part is an interplay of abstract tensions and forces, not one of human incident and personal emotion.” [1]

Perhaps with more reading I will eventually understand how a person can look at a scene or vista and see dynamic interplays of space, with all the tensions, planes and other visual dynamics that are present. Are they indeed present or are they overlays from the mind’s eye painted by a master?

Perhaps reading is the last thing I should do. The best thing for me to do would be to look at every piece that Cézanne created.

Inner vision

Cézanne’s province was to represent the real world as he saw it – an architectonic view of space, as the authors of the referenced book describe it. As his role was pivotal to modern art, I can’t think of a better artist to study.

However, as my current goal includes use of painting, sketching and drawing as an expressive medium, I am in a less comfortable area. Less comfortable because there is no one other than me, who knows how I feel. I am sure that there are techniques that I can read up on, individual artists who have expressive styles, entire artistic movements that I can explore, to give me greater insight.

But for now, I feel like a grad student in a kindergarten finger painting class: awkward and without the comfort of naptime.

[1] Barnes, A.C. & deMazia, V. The Art of Cézanne Merion, Penn. USA: The Barnes Foundation Press 1986

2 thoughts on “Representation

  1. Hey Jack!
    Please excuse my absence and my lack of contact of late, but life has a habit of sneaking up on me at times and putting me in a headlock. I think it’s wonderful that you are exploring your artistic skills and studying the work of Cézanne. Art as you know is one of my passions, particularly portraiture. I shall be very interested to see what you produce, that is if you are willing to post you work…? 🙂
    I hope you are well, by the sounds of it you are keeping busy. I’ve started work on a book just recently, one that I’d started some years back, but had put on the back burner. It feels good to be undertaking a writing project a little lengthier and more challenging than I’m used to. I shall hope to keep up from now on with all my blog pals as I have been somewhat remiss of late. I’ve got a lot of reading to do!

    Warm regards, your friend,


    • Thanks M. I have been a lurker on your blogs, so I know how hectic things have been for you. I am glad that you have some more time, since your university studies have been postponed for a while. Also it seems like you are dealing with a lot of stress at home. I haven’t had words to respond to all you are going through, but I think about your situation quite a bit.

      I’m glad you are embarking on your book project. I’m sure it feels like you are stretching your legs, so to speak. I am still amazed at all the things you do.

      Be well.

      Warm regards,
      Your friend,


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