Ask any kid — things look different when you stand on your head or roll on your side. So, it is with artists. But, we’ve learned it’s much easier just to flip our subject (and a lot kinder on our bods).
Try it yourself. Study your subject matter (say, a reference photo). Now, rotate it and observe it again. Your eye will decipher the relative shapes and negative spaces very differently depending on orientation. This is true for more than art!
Here’s a recent example from my sketchbook: “Bunny strut” becomes “Fish arabesque.” No magic. Just a matter of orientation.
It’s not what you think, although if he jumped into my lap I’d allow him a short stay. It’s that I hate wasting paint, even a little bit. He is a Leftover Acrylic Paint dog.
The orange, blue, and red colors on his face are leftover acrylic paint smeared on a page, then folded — forming his somewhat symmetrical blotches. I looked at it from time to time just enjoying the blobs. Then I spotted him and drew him out.
This ‘Rorschach’ian method may say something about my personality type and emotional functioning. Do you think I have a thought disorder?
A favorite bonus (or downside, if you’re shy) to sketching in public is the curious visitor. Kids are the best because they just bound right up asking questions — no sideways glances, no quiet slow stepping to get just close enough for a peak (wouldn’t want to disturb the artist). This day, “Troy” came flying over in his awesome orange and blue monster shirt. I showed him what I was painting and what the names of the places were.
“You need blue there,” he blurted out. Well, yes indeed — I was just getting to that sky! And so he supervised my blue wash for all of 2 seconds and was off again — then back again (you know kids). I told him the best thing about sketching things is you remember that moment very clearly forever. “So every time I look at this painting, Troy, I will remember you and your monster shirt.”
Indeed I shall.
View north from Daybreak Star Cultural Center toward Golden Gardens park with Mount Baker’s peak in the distance.
(Click an image to enlarge)
These were my other visitors that day.
Triangular crabapple tree with mucho abundant fruit.