Back to my Creative Drawing course book this week and the topic is Atmospheric or aerial Perspective. This is how spatial illusions are created by controlling the sharpness and relative contrast of receding forms in a drawing (Smagula - Creative Drawing). Foreground shapes are sharper than the shapes in the background and far distance. Fairly logical concept. Albrecht Durer's Rocky Landscape (1495) on the right shows a good example of the technique by rendering his foreground rocks in a detailed, sharp manner and background castle less distinct, showing a spatial separation.
My drawing is of the view out my window, showing my neighbours' roofs in the foreground in a more detailed and sharper / darker focus, and the roofs and trees in the receding background less distinct to exaggerate the illusion of depth. If I'd had more time I would have worked more on the foreground roofs to add more detail and shading etc.. but I think the point of the exercise was achieved.
The last part of the chapter on perspective goes on to mention some artists that purposefully use or distort our knowledge of perspective to create imaginative and unpredictable worlds. The most famous being M.C Escher (1898 - 1972), known for creating visual puzzles and using his knowledge of perspective to manipulate and play mind tricks on us. I love mind tricks so he's one of my favourite artists !... Some examples of his best perspective illusions are below, the most famous "Relativity" (1953) with the distorted staircases...
In this section, Smagula (Creative Drawing guru) points out that as artists mature, their work tends to evolve into distinctive styles that reflect their choice of themes, materials, ways of using space and textural patterns used. In this activity, it is encouraged to explore your own distinctive style that integrates a variety of textures. The brief for this activity was extremely vague to say the least, though it managed to waffle on for four paragraphs and nearly put me to sleep !... nonetheless, I tried to choose a subject that I thought could incorporate both smooth and rough textures in the same drawing. I found some celery in my fridge and could visualise the drawing that could be done using both pencil smooth sections for the stalk and rough, scratchy paint for the leaves.
The most coherent thing Smagula says at the end of this chapter is that drawing is an evolutionary activity that over time can sharpen our visual capacity and heighten our awareness so that we can return to familiar places and see things in new ways with new understandings.... so ends chapter six on texture.. onwards and upwards !
Sacha Grossel is a practising Visual Artist from Australia.