49. DEVELOPING MY TEACHING CHOPS (BASIC DRAWING, PART 3)
The obliteration of separate things and the formation of new integrated shapes
After the students had become familiar with using line to define shapes, I introduced an exercise of observing 2-value shapes in these architectural set-ups of boxes and barrels, further taking the students away from 'thingness,' and separate objects, in order to understand value as the integration of 'things' into new integrated, abstract shapes.
Once again, they had to consider the whole page as a complete and tight composition...no 'vignettes'. To emphasize this binding of shape, I dramatically lit the set-ups...
Through this exercise, objects lost their separate identity and the relationship of shapes, not 'things,' became paramount. The drawings were compositions of shapes...without object identities...which is the basis of visual art. The compositions were interesting as mysterious combinations of abstract shapes.
To create more definition of form and make it more 3-dimensional, I assigned 4-value projects which added two middle values to the simple 2-value (dark/light) compositions. All the infinite values of the natural world were reduced to four, and that forced simplification of shapes as well as clarity of forms. I had the students create a 4-value scale placed above, below, or to the side of the compositions for reference.
In order to make the values and luminosity more distinct, I painted different smaller geometric containers white and placed them on a white sheet...
Step 1) The composition begins with a line drawing on the lightest value. Step 2) A second value is added which isolates the lightest areas. Step 3) A third value creates three-dimensional form as well as the cast shadows. Step 4) Finally, a fourth value further defines form and gives the composition the 'punch' of contrast.