Matisse sought to have the white of the paper be a source of light in his drawings.  This little drawing of a still life is my reply to that.  I tried to create the mirage of the table with flowers using as few lines as possible, to have light pouring over the objects.  I wanted the lines to hold themselves up so that the flowers and the vase would not even need the table.

“Drawing is putting a line round an idea.”   — Henri Matisse

[Top of the post:  Small sketch of flowers in a vase, by Aletha Kuschan, ballpoint pen]

4 thoughts on “Defying Gravity

  1. I like that quote by Mattise, but sometimes it is very difficult to put the line around the idea. I’ve been thinking about this subject for some time. While not simple, it is much easier to depict a message in sequential medium. For example, in movies, books, graphic novels, etc. it takes several frames, pages, panels to communicate with the viewer, but it is not the case with painting where you have only one canvas.

    You have to truly understand your subject to extract its essence. It is especially difficult when you are dealing with intangible concepts. There are so many different ways to depict them, but you have to choose the one that is right. However, if an artist is successful, if s/he can capture that essence, the effect on the spectator will be as significant as a good book or even greater.

    The process of searching for the soul of an idea is very important in itself. At different stages of life one might come up with different answers to the same question.

  2. You have great insight into Matisse. Matisse’s idea is to visual things what a word is to sentences and paragraphs and chapters and thoughts. And, of course, Matisse was the guy who redrew the exact same motif over and over extracting different things from it.

    There is a subtle “sequential” thing that goes on in a very complex pictorial work, but it has to do with attention and the ways that a great artist makes it possible for a diligent observer to take a journey through a picture, even despite the fact that a picture is static and never changes. Movies and other time arts work differently, using real sequence for various effects. But in the flat picture, sequence is an illusion just as the third dimension is an illusion.

    Learning to understand the subject to extract its essence — for some adventurous artists that was a life time’s work. I’m thinking of, for instance, Degas and the ballet and things like that. When you go through Ingres’s drawings, your observation about there being “so many different ways of depict[ion]” would be so apropos. Ingres seemed to struggle with, or revel in, or explore according to whatever mood the myriad possibilities. In the studies for, say, a single portrait we find him asking himself, as it were, should the hands be in this pose? should she be wearing this dress or that one? a bracelet or a ring? and endlessly on and on. When you look at the preparatory drawings for his paintings and the range of possibilities that he contemplated, it’s a wonder he ever finished anything at all!
    (But that was before tv!)

    Kitsune, you always make the most incredibly insightful comments. It is such a delight to read them. Thank you very much. I look forward to more. I’m always curious now what you’ll say!

  3. Thank you, Aletha. I enjoy talking to you 🙂 I always learn something new by reading your posts and comments 🙂

    Here is an interesting example of artist “battle”. Each has to create an artwork according to a theme. Even though this video is a comedy, I find the concept and artworks of the elder master quite interesting.

    The other day I found a drawing club website that sets a theme periodically, and artists draw their interpretation. Each artist has a unique style and vision of the subject.

  4. I noticed there are some “drawing challenges” going on here at wordpress also. One of them really struck a chord with me. I cannot really participate in it because of time constraints, but I thought I would attempt some of their subjects: it’s a group that draws things from a list of the most commonplace items. They just take something like a shoe and draw it. Or car keys, or toothpaste tube, etc. Ordinary things like that. Kind of art archeology in modern settings. A both charming and insightful project.

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