Drawings In The Life
The line drawing
Sitting on the hot sand of a Mediterranean beach, my knees up, with a sketch book and lead pencil and the horizon for subject, I draw a line on the paper.
I must be in my pre-teens and yet, I am overtaken with the feeling that the horizon; the drawn line and I are one.
The nearest thing to that initial taut line is the ink line drawing of light fixture hood, chair back and door frame shown above, drawn some fifty years later, during which period I can sincerely say that every day that I draw … every day that I am.
The hashed line tonal drawing
In my fifties, or sixties, in one of the galleries of the Montreal museum of fine art, I stand overwhelmed by an enormous floor to ceiling hashed line tonal drawing of a human face.
That experience makes me look around for tonal compositions of light and shadow to be rendered in hashed line tonal drawings as the one in the feature image and the one shown above.
While the encounter with that particular subject is totally circumstantial, the final drawing is the result of a definite process of preliminary rough sketch with notes on the tonal pattern, intermediary framing of the final drawing and its final execution in a meditative mood.
The letter and cipher
In my seventies now and in reaction to the near monochromatic deep winter scene in the city, I find in my daily regimen of cross word and sudoku puzzles inspiration for adventurous graphic compositions and bursts of colors.
At this same time, I am attracted to the work of Jasper Johns for his imaginative use of letter and cipher in his paintings.
The drawing above overlaps three written versions of the number one, or un in French, and a curtain of number one ciphers. The color is subdued comparatively to the gradated black background
The mixed media drawing
Somewhere between a drawing and a collage, this drawing uses graphic elements to set off the photographic image at its center.
(It is a time of active black and white photography for me with an acquired fixed prime lens digital camera.)
To keep the black of the photo at “center stage,” I have introduced the white of the sketch paper in delineation of the surrounding graphic shapes and used brown ink for the graphic counter-point elements across and around the photograph.
I include in the composition my white- delineated signature to provide visual spontaneity as relief from the dominating geometrical shapes.
The colored paper squares collage
This studied composition, using the basic rainbow colors over a black background, follows a period of simply having fun with precut, or cut up colored paper collages, suggestive of animal, human, building and other natural forms.
Those collages ended on the wall of a bakery, now defunct. Accompanied by children’s drawings, the half-circle installation bore the name of “The rainbow show.”
I am indebted to two artists and thinkers I was fortunate to have exchanged ideas and drawings with.
The late Philip Thiel, my professor in architecture school, who taught me how to “see” and how to practice coordination of eye and hand.
The late Fredrick Franck, founder of “Pacem in Terris,” who gave me the courage to let loose and be inspired by moments of empathy with my surroundings.
Thiel, Philip: Freehand Drawing, Prentice Hall Press, N.Y., 1965
Franck, Fredrick: Zen seeing, Zen drawing, Bantham Books, N.Y., 1993
The drawings and collages in this post are of course of my hand and should be credited as such. Thanks.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Maurice Amiel, M. Arch. (U.C. Berkeley) is retired professor of Environmental Design at the School of Design, University of Quebec at Montreal, where he was involved mainly in environment-behaviour teaching and applied research projects. In order to promote environmental awareness, he has turned after retiring to documenting and writing about various physical and human agents contributing to a sense of self, place and sociability ... I wish to add to my interests the fundamental role of light in photography and the visual structure of all 2D forms of artwork.