Seeing anything in three dimensions and flattening it to two dimensions for the purpose of painting is really difficult. It requires that we learn to see objects in a different way. What sort of way do I mean? I mean that we look at the person or thing we want to draw and see its dimensional relations. Look up from your screen or tablet, for instance; take the length of the screen/tablet and find an object in the distance that has the same width. Even though it might be a school bus or a house. When you draw the bus/house, you will know exactly how it relates to your screen/tablet in such a way that it looks as distant from it as it truly is. Magic!

And the other thing: If you look at, say, a tea cup with the intention of drawing it, you don’t only see the lines of the cup but all kinds of shapes. There is the oval inside the cup, there are irregular rectangles on the side of the cup. And the handle? The space between the porcellain bits is filled with negative space which has a specific shape depending on your viewing angle. The space between the saucer and the table, viewed from the side, is an idealtypical epitome of negative space. …

But what do buses and tea cups have to do with the nudes atop this post? Well, the above is a violently abbreviated version of what I learned in a 3-day nude-drawing workshop last weekend. I learned heaps and heaps. It was exhausting and a lot of fun at the same time! But also exhausting. All the looking and concentrating! I was totally knackered every evening upon coming home. Still, I wouldn’t have missed the workshop for the world as it really helped me work on the basics of painting: seeing and drawing.



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