Montisi, Thursday, September 13
With an absolutely straight face, Barbara began today’s morning lesson by proclaiming, “you can draw anything.” Obviously, she’s a professional to be able to tell that big, fat porkie without even the slightest of sideways glances. But, I think she might be correct . . . after all, she didn’t actually say how good your drawing might be. No, Virginia, there’s no need for sarcasm. She is correct.
Now, it turns out that just as the Roman alphabet forms the basis for writing English, standard geometric shapes form the basis for drawing. After all, if you can draw a circle
and stick a triangle on top of it (assuming the base of the triangle is the appropriate size), you are halfway to a pear, or a bird, or my midsection. If you can use ovals (otherwise known as squashed donuts) and circles to attach the tops and bottoms of two parallel lines, you can almost drink out of the glass, bottle, or straw that results. And, once you can construct your basic fruits and vegetables you can move on to more complicated shapes . . . like carrot people. Okay, I have to admit I’m not exactly certain how that works but I heard Barbara say it; so, it must be true. Of course, if I continue to eat the way that I have been, a lesson in eggplant people might be more helpful if I have any aspirations towards self-portraiture.
Other lessons learned today include: Straight elbow proportion calculation; the law of T; and, look on the floor. The latter is particularly useful whenever you can’t find some necessary bit of equipment.
Yesterday was another away day. Gianmarco and Fabio took us to San Quirico d’Orcia, which was nice for me since Michael and I had visited it on a market day and didn’t really get to see the streets without the many stalls and stands, Montalcino, and Sant’Antimo. A truly awful thing happened to me in Montalcino . . . I was the last one back to the vans. Not only was I the last one back, I was late getting back. Anyone who knows me knows that this is one of my pet traveling peeves: Inconsiderate people who make the entire group wait while they daly and dither. To think that I was concerned that I was concerned about turning into my mother. Instead, I have turned into a dallier and ditherer. I’m hoping this was a one time transgression; if not, I might as well pack up my traveling clothes and let my passport expire.
During yesterday’s afternoon lesson, we all worked on a landscape. I can’t say that mine represented much of an improvement over the one I attempted on Monday. I have to keep reminding myself of the third prerequisite for attending this workshop: To want to try, which includes the ability to redefine concepts of perfection. I tried and it wasn’t perfect. I knew I was qualified for this. I think if I’d tried the landscape after this morning’s lesson, I would have done better. All those trees would have started as carrots or pears, the hills as portions of squashed donuts, houses as simple rectangles, distant olive groves as tiny lollipops, etc. Next time I will do better.
As Barbara is fond of reminding us:
Painting [and by extrapolation I include drawing] is not rocket science.
Unfortunately, there are so many things that are NOT rocket science but are still so far beyond my capabilities, neurosurgery and basic plumbing come instantly to mind, that the expression does not instill the kind of confidence I require. “You can draw anything,” on the other hand, is just the sort of statement I can embrace.