Effectively Complete Your Drawing From Nature Assignment Like A Pro
There are several tactics an architecture can use to when incorporating nature in their design. Discuss some of these tactics.
Although it is just about impossible for an artist not to draw from nature, since even when he chooses to draw 'from imagination' he is referring un-consciously to his private store of images which have an origin somewhere in nature, even so, most artists distinguish between 'drawing from nature and 'drawing from imagination'. Of course, the world of nature is a big thing; "You have nothing before your eyes which is not filled with life', runs the Chinese maxim. Everything is a part of nature; a fur coat is as much a part of nature as a grizzly bear, a child's doll as much as the child herself, a York-shire slag heap as much as Mount Fuji. When one undertakes to 'draw from therefore, one is faced with a bewildering profusion of subjects, and the temptation is to draw only what one wants to draw, without reference to what may be learned from doing a particular drawing. This is why it is especially important that a beginner be careful about his choice of subjects: he has to learn to distinguish between subjects which are good potential exercises from which he may learn something, and subjects which are really 'inspirations', carrying within them a direct experience which he feels must be recorded. The two are quite different.
The artist may regard any natural object or event as a basis for a graphic as a series of systematic studies in which something can be learned both about nature and about drawing, as Dürer intended, for example, when he dug up a sod of grass, carried it to his studio, and drew it many times from different angles. On the other hand, the artist may regard natural objects as experiences, which must be deeply felt rather than analyzed, and conveyed graphically as an experience, as Turner would do, being prepared to pop his head out of the window of a moving train to experience the speed of the train, or to have himself lashed to a ship's mast in a storm in order to experience directly the deep forces and of nature.
No one can be taught to draw or paint in terms of such experiences - ultimately the artist is alone when he comes to this level of experiencing nature or the force to create. On this level the artist is alone with only his technique as a link with the remainder of mankind - no one can help him, no one can teach him how to do it, simply because if he is doing it properly, then it has not been done before! However, with the more common experience of drawing that regards nature as a source of experience and discipline and permits us to choose a particular subject as a potential exercise - a considerable may be taught and learned.
Although we do not have in the west the same tight classification of subjects as they do in oriental art, most systems of art education have subdivided the forms of nature into several subject categories which in fact present a series of graduated exercises, ranging in order of complexity from inanimate matter to living, and then to moving forms. The first on the list is usually called the 'antique' - the study of drawing from sculptures or plaster casts (plate 62), the idea being that the technical problems of elementary delineation, the representation of form, and the graduation of tonal contrasts which were at one time regarded as the very ABC of drawing, may best be studied by drawing a simple, colorless, inanimate solid. With the antique, the problems face by a student are simplified since there is no colour, no life, no movement (and only too often no beauty) for him to struggle with; it was therefore, the argument ran, an excellent basis for discipline and for introduction to the problems of form. The second on the list is the study of drawing from still life, that is from a motley collection of inanimate objects, either haphazardly grouped or carefully arranged in a formal order, to mark a progression from the white antique plaster cast, so that the student would be able to tackle a set of more advanced problems, involving composition, the problem of reducing colours to tonal equivalents, the problem of complex effects of chiaroscuro, textures etc.
The third on the list introduces a whole gamut of new experiences, for it involves the direct study of what is neatly classified as 'nature'; a field that is wide enough to incorporate plants, flowers, landscapes, animals and towns; everything from stags at bay to industrial landscapes. Of course, this introduces the artist to a wide range of problems of tone, colour, texture and form, all in a complex state of change, yet with the additional problems of there being a fuse of life in everything - an element that may not be rejected and which ideally should survive in the drawing to the extent that a drawing of a plaster cast of a foot should be quite different from a drawing of a living foot.
The fourth on the list, to which most artists turn with a sigh of relief, is usually approached only when a certain degree of technical proficiency has been gained, and the student knows (as Whistler puts it) which end of the brush to put into his mouth, and this is the subject of the human nude, which presents every shade of graphic problem which the artist is likely to face. The convenient progression that this loose four-fold classification offers is usually dismissed by intelligent art teachers nowadays, yet few deny that it is a good idea for the student to start with a few simple exercises in drawing from nature before attempting to draw the nude. I presume that you have benefited from the previous chapter, and have already done several experiments in drawing with a variety of different techniques and that you now find yourself in a position to draw the things around you in order to learn something more. However, before I begin to make any observations about drawing from nature, I would like to put in a word or two about the sketchbook, for this is the instrument which makes mock of all classifications of 'subject'; everything is suitable grist for the sketchbook mill. A good sketchbook, like a good artist, is classless: it may roam anywhere at any time.
It is difficult to say where sketching ends and drawing begins, but there is a world of difference between the two. The difference is one of what I can only describe as a 'sense of audience' - the sketchbook is a kind of private visual diary, while a drawing requires audience participation for its very existence. The temptation with a drawing is to 'finish' it in order to show it to others; while sketching is a person coming to terms with visual problems, and for a time the 'sense of audience' (and let there be no doubt, every artist carries with him a sense of audience), which may be likened to an Old Man of the Sea with a crippling leg-grip around one's neck, slips off, and one rehearses in private.
The words which the Victorian artist Müller wrote on the back of one of his drawings, 'Left as a sketch for some fool to finish and ruin', sets out the problem admirably, for very often finishing a drawing means ruining it. Thus, it is almost true to say of drawing what is often said of painting, that one should stop the drawing just a little before it is finished! The truth is, of course, that one is rarely adding anything of value when one 'finishes' a drawing, and only too frequently a few lively strokes may catch the unique life of the subject better than a million dots and strokes may ever do. In a sketchbook, you are free to study and to learn, to experiment, splash around, paddle in the ink if you wish, and because you do not feel that you have something looking over your shoulder all the time, you are involved with drawing rather than with showing off!
But the sketchbook is more than a place for lively studies, a place where the artist may rehearse his private fantasies; it is also a record of his own relationship to the world. A sketchbook is the artist's private diary of his inner progression; whether it is the simple notebook that Sir Francis Drake carried about with him to make little sketches of birds and trees which he saw during his travels or the mountain of gigantic sketchbooks which Turner filled in his progress through Europe and his own inner being. There is usually more sense of the artist's development and real grasp, of what is going on in his private world, in his sketches than in his finished work. The beauty of sketching is that under the pressure of trying to set something down quickly, perhaps to catch an effect of light or the movement of a street scene, the sub-conscious of the artist sometimes takes control, and a drawing is produced which the artist himself cannot really appreciate until some considerable time after. Working at finished drawings very rarely allows this natural chemistry to take over the sense of audience grips too tightly, and the artist does not 'let go' in the right way. The reproductions in plates 63 to 66 are taken from my own and students' sketchbooks, and these demonstrate something of the 'looseness' of approach that the sketch encourages.
Fred Gettings, leaf from sketchbook, 1958, pen and ink, brush and ink, and pencil
Detail from plate 77 The Old Bedford
Francis Barlow (1626-1702) nine studies of heads 1968, pen and brown ink. British Museum
69 Detail from plate 65, pen and Indian ink
Fred Gettings, illustrations from The Wonder Book of Nature published 1960 by Ward Lock Ltd
Solidity yet in trying to convey this to the paper you find that the incidental textures tend to fight with the boldness and sweep which suggests the feeling of weight. You will therefore have to compromise at some point, and by doing so you will be reaching into the heart of drawing, which is the idea of compromise. Perhaps you may find it more satisfactory not to compromise in the same drawing, in which case do two drawings or even three, one to suggest the weight, one to suggest the texture, and a third to tie these together in one drawing.