Visualising

Tuesday 22 of November 2022

The Treachery of Images (1929) by René Magritte

When we draw (or make a visual representation of an object) we are not only relying on the coordination between our eyes and our hands, we are expressing and trying to reduce the complexity of understanding a living concept through a snapshot of lines and spots in time.

Any drawing exercise is a process of reducing the complexity of observation to a limited composite of directionals that allows our brain to gather information on any subject. In other words: (and just as Magritte pointed out) “this is not a pipe”, the image is not the real thing.

This exercise (especially after doing Probing and Blitzing) feels like another layer on the understanding of how and why our brains need a creative representation of reality. Our hands are extensions of our brain, and our brain is composed to represent the subjective reality we live on.

Krishnamurti used to say: “the word mountain is not a mountain”. It’s only through the active creation of images that we can get closer to realizing this.


Short Exercises

Visual Stretch

This was a very interesting exercise. First of all, I thought it was going to be a lot easier than it was. This was the experience of losing a key part of my drawing style: my hand-eye connection. I drew my wife, and she was horrified.

I couldn’t stop laughing after the first drawing, and after the second it was a new discovery, a new feeling, and a new style. Maybe we are also fixed on how something “should look”. I noticed that these drawings had a lighter approach to creativity than I usually have. It was liberating and fun.

When I draw the third exercise, I found a fizzy drink can. I absolutely loved the way it came out. The light and shadows were a beautiful way to challenge my observational behaviour when drawing. Start with the end, start with toning.

Symbols

Collage of “hidden codes on a normal Sydney house”.

Noticing symbols in our daily life feels like trying to understand a new language. We are surrounded every single day by this unknown world of codes that mean something to someone. From danger to recycling, from brands to energy ratings. Sometimes there are codes within the codes.

Some of the most notorious ones that I could find were to alert dangers, disposals, health information, and brands. There are also codes for brands who made the packages, printing information, and countries of origin.

Rich Pictures

Diagram of influences of the National Art School.

This exercise was very interesting. I tried to draw how every leader in the art school influences different departments. It was eye-opening that when I started drawing I could understand more than I thought I knew. All the relationships between departments were always directed by one person at the head.

The “public” or the external influence, is one of the most powerful voices in this school. The public decides which courses get done. Also, the media has a 2 sides influence on the CEO: We influence how the media talks about us and at the same time is the media that shapes how we communicate with the public.


Long Exercise

Portrait

Looking at yourself in the mirror for a long time can be a daunting experience. it’s impossible to run away from yourself in this exercise. You first start noticing the “normal” thing, you know, the thing you see in the mirror every day.

Then you start to see changes, was that there before? Never notices that my eye colour has slightly changed. My skin tone has transformed too.

This is one of many self-portraits that I have done during my life. It’s been 8 years since I made my first one, and it was a totally different feeling this time.

I think what I love most about this exercise is that it goes beyond any conscious thought on how you are supposed to draw. After all, art is about observing.