Friday, September 30, 2011

Drawing Without Sight & Learning to See

During art last night we diligently practiced our “blind contour” skills. Contour drawing is only drawing the lines of an object, in as much detail as you can. Blind contour is doing this while you aren’t looking.

Ha, that’s a good one, I found myself thinking when my professor explained that activity. I don’t really understand this.

Apparently a lot of other people didn’t either, since they kept sneaking glances at their paper while they were drawing (so did I, if I’m being honest). I just couldn’t figure out how in the world I was supposed to actually draw something without looking.

Eventually I figured out it didn’t matter what I drew, it mattered what I saw. It’s amazing how much detail I began to notice once I was required to stare at an object and explicate its various lines with my eyes.

The tiny cracks in a teapot became splitting crevices on pavement.

The tiny veins in a leaf of ivy became Jack’s beanstalk etched against the sky.

I could see everything.

The blind contour drawing of my shoe was by no means an accurate representation, nor was the drawing of my hand or the soup can.

(The picture below is my shoe.)

But within those two hours I was learning how to see in a completely different way.

My professor sent us outside to draw an element of nature and I chose a lone vine of ivy. At this point she gave us permission to look at our paper for a reference point every time we started a new line. But she still wanted us to draw with our eyes and pay close attention to how the lines moved and formed.

That vine of ivy became an entire world as I depicted the patterns.

How can there be no God when there are worlds of detail etched upon the earth everywhere I look?

When my professor talked the first day about the connection between faith and art I didn’t understand what she was talking about. I knew I could pray through art when I played the piano or drew, but I didn’t realize that there could always be a spiritual process involved with art.

Until last night.

I must have drawn that vine of ivy for an hour or so. People passed me on the street wondering why I was sitting with a giant sketch board facing a vine of ivy and drawing it. I must have looked stupid—but I didn’t care what they thought.

Here was the final product:

I was entranced by the process, and captivated by the beauty that God gave this world.

I can’t begin to picture heaven if the earth is this glorious.

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