As a private student of Richard Lack’s, one of the first things he impressed upon me was the art of starts. He preferred to begin students with the rudiments of Sight-Size cast drawing and through them, starts. As I recall, foremost in his mind was the idea that the start of a project was prime-time.
Seeing. We all do it, but we can do better.
Sight-Size is predicated on a desire to accurately draw what you see. Then, once your eye is trained to objectively see, you can make intentional, intelligent, and artistic choices about deviating from your source. These articles are all about seeing.
When using Sight-Size, a key way to visually check your work is to quickly flick your eye between it and nature (your source). Any errors will appear to visually ‘jump’ out of place. This act relies on a process known by cognitive psychologists as persistence of vision or the sparkler’s trail effect.
In setting out a drawing, this fixing of certain salient points is the first thing for the student to do . . . The next thing to do is to block out the spaces corresponding to those occupied by the model in the field of your vision.
Leonardo da Vinci considered the mirror the master of painters. Translators sometimes take his meaning to be, “the mirror is our teacher.” One might accurately say, the mirror gives us a fresh eye.
Of the many skills required for successful representational drawing and painting, determining distance is one of the most important. This is true when drawing out of one’s head and all the more when drawing from observation. In fact, when we draw we are constantly measuring.
In this article I take a brief look at William McGregor Paxton (1869–1941). As one of his many artistic descendants I can’t help but be fascinated by him and his work but for the moment I am staying away from his biography. Instead I want to focus on one of his little known theories about binocular vision.
Early on Bonnat studied in Madrid maintained a lifelong admiration for the Spanish artists Ribera and Velazquez. This admiration seems to have driven his approach to painting and teaching. In a preface for a biography on Velazquez he claimed that what Velazquez “sought before everything was character and truth.”