Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Snowdrops and photographs
Over on the SAQA Yahoo group there's been the most recent kerfuffle going on ....it seems like it is often the same thing....what is art...what isn't art.
The strange thing about this one is that it started out about design and learning the elements of design. Someone made a comment which was a little disparaging about using photographs.....it didn't bother me at the time nor does it no because what I felt she was really saying is that taking a photograph and referring to it is one thing.....it is a note taker. But, one REALLY begins to see and understand a design element or image when you DRAW it. Freehand. As in not tracing a photograph. You also then have time to think about it...observe....consider whether the lines are pleasing or not or whether another element might just be better in a different location.
Unfortunately, this was blown out of proportion.
I use photographs. I can see the point which was being made. I also think that sometimes we use photographs as a crutch....For instance, I'm notorious at biting off more than I can chew and thinking I have a superwoman cape which will make me faster than I really am. Then, I fall prey to the thought that "Oh, I'll just trace the elements I want to use from the photograph rather than taking the time to draw it." Yes, it gets the job done...but have I really learned and seen the whole piece? Considered all of the elements? Considered what might make the composition better? I think that perhaps if I would take that time to do this, then perhaps my end product would be better than when I take the easy way out.
This isn't to say that using photographs as an element of design is wrong....but I just think that when we are drawing something from a photograph, perhaps it would be more enlightening if we actually DREW it and didn't trace it...perhaps if we actually drew the image THEN thread painted it, rather than printing a photograph on a piece of paper without manipulation and thread painted it from there rather than just stitching over the top with the same color of thread we might actually have something of more interest and strength.
I'm also frustrated at the fact that I once could draw well...I was once good at perspective, but after years of not using those skills, my drawings are not up to my standards...even if they are only mental standards! It goes back to the "use it or lose it" and you have to practice....and then practice some more.
Yes, copying is a good starting point....and a good confidence builder. I still copy master art works trying to learn or get the mental exercise of attempting to do something in a style I admire, but don't usually pursue.
Just a thought. Maybe if we spent more time on actually doing art rather than arguing about what is art and what isn't then we'd actually make some inroads.