Drawing: The Art of Change

Drawing: The Art of Change


LENA: When I need to figure
something out in my head I draw. WYNTON: I draw constantly,
everywhere I go. SANDY: For me every drawing
is a process of discovery. The beauty of drawing is
that you can see the process. And see the artists working and
thinking through a composition. When you look at old master
drawings by an artist like da Vinci or Géricault, you
can still see them trying to capture the right
line, the right movement, there on the page even
hundreds of years later. When artists draw, they often
correct their first lines, and these changes can usually
be seen in the final drawing. Art historians even have a
word for these corrections and changes, “pentimenti.” In Italian, the word can
connote regret or remorse. But a broader meaning
is a reconsideration, a second thought or
a changing of mind. The artist might be
exploring composition or emotion or expression. There is this wonderful drawing
by the Italian artist Pontormo, where you can still
see the first figure he drew on the piece of
paper, a standing woman. Then he decided to draw
another subject altogether, but the first figure
is still there creating volume and support
for the dying Christ. LENA: I love that
in many drawings, you can see the artist
change his or her mind. Sometimes you go up
to a piece of art and you’re like how was this
made, how did this even happen? But with drawing, if
you can see the lines, you can see that they had to
work for it and change a lot. And they have a process and
it’s not just like magic, and it doesn’t come out
right away. [LAUGHS] I love drawing
faces because it’s like something you
look at every day, so it’s something you’re
very familiar with. This line didn’t
really work out, and so I’m just going to go
over it with a darker color so I can distinguish it from
the first round of lines. SANDY: When the drawing
is just not working out, you can keep tweaking it and
pushing it, or just drawing over it until it feels right. But sometimes you just can’t
make big enough changes by drawing over, like when
Rembrandt cut and pasted a jagged slice of paper on
top of his overworked drawing so he could start from scratch. WYNTON: When drawing on the
computer I can cut and paste. I can ink and transform and
move parts of the drawing. And it is much more efficient
than doing it by hand. SANDY: I might try to
hide or cover up a change, but I might not. Sometimes I like
leaving them in. Keeping these changes,
these pentimenti, gives a liveliness and dynamism
that’s unique to drawing. WYNTON: Sometimes
unplanned marks make the drawing look better or
create a new line that actually improves it, something you
can work with and draw over to create the drawing
closer to what you planned. LENA: When you see
lines underneath, it makes me feel more
comfortable as an artist knowing that I can
get there, too. And you understand
it a little bit more. It makes you more in awe of
what they’ve done because you know the steps they took. [MUSIC PLAYING]

Dereck Turner

2 thoughts on “Drawing: The Art of Change

  1. J Atlas says:

    oh my life's a series of pentimenti 🙁

  2. Michel Villa says:

    "Pentimenti"
    Excellent information on the drawing, Vielen dank!

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