I made a bit of progress with the leaf study originally suggested by Paul Klee in an assignment to his Bauhaus students. The exercise was to develop a fictitious leaf based on rules he outlined in his text.
I started another one on my drawing board, with the idea of applying different rules. For example: 1) instead of equal divisions along the central leaf vein, I halved the distance between each of the nodes; 2) I set the length of each bilateral branch equal in length to the previous division of the central vein; 3) My next rule was to divide each branch into twigs, each to be half the length of the branch, but I got distracted.
Instead of proceeding to the divisions of the branches, I used each dividing point along the central vein as the center of a circle, the radii of which were the branches departing from main line (see figure below).
I continued along each branch, added the twigs and thickened the lines appropriately (wider at the base, becoming thinner at the extremities).
Back to the drawing board
I enjoy using my T-square and mechanical pencils. It reminds me of my high school drafting class. I could spend all day fooling around with geometric possibilities of angles, circles and straight lines. Paul Klee was famous for saying that drawing was akin to ‘taking a line for a walk’. But in the leaf studies I drew, I felt that my line was on a leash and I was just taking it out to the nearest fire hydrant and back.
When I get sidetracked, I like to revisit my original goals.
A bit of history of my blog
I began my blog in January 2013 with the idea of relating my experience as a sibling of a severely handicapped autistic and nonverbal brother, in part, to reach other siblings. For the first 11 months of the blog I recapped all my efforts to reach him: my photography, my writing, talks with my parents, and so on. In November 2013, the day before Mike‘s birthday, my mother, younger brother and I went to visit him in his geriatric group home. He showed no recognition at all. At that point, I shifted my focus from trying to understand him, to trying understand and express my own feelings.
Ever since then, I have been trying to find ways to express my feelings in my paintings and drawings. My blog entries since November 2013 are a record of my efforts.
Need to get unstuck
Even though rigorous treatment of geometric relationships on the drawing board is a lot of fun, it does not further my agenda. I am happy to have done the exercises, but I need to free up my line – to unleash the hound, so to speak.
I have no doubt that Paul Klee’s artistry holds many more clues about how I can express my feelings visually, so I will move on from the first 23 pages of his notebook, even though I have not totally absorbed the lesson. I’m sure that when I come back to this text later, all will be clarified.
The kiwi is about to go bad, so today was my last chance to capture its image before it turned to complete mush and started attracting flies.
There are a couple of things about this study I should mention. The image is larger than life. This was not much of a factor after a few minutes, but I noticed that when I started to draw, I automatically created the contours as if the image was to be life size.
I painted in the creases and wrinkles with dark pigment and, after it was completely dry, applied a wash to the area. This had the effect of integrating the disparate tones of the fruit’s surface. Perhaps the surface is too smooth, and not wrinkly enough. I did not want to overwork this study, but keeping some amount of dis-integration might be a good thing.