Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Lesson 2 - About Imitation

Hello everyone!
In this second lesson I want to spend a few words about a basic concept of the classical approach (and therefore of my style). I’m talking about what the ancient Greeks called MIMESIS (μίμησις), a word that we use to translate with “imitation”. 
For a great number of artists, the more a piece of work correctly imitates the nature, the more it can be considered true art.
After all, we somewhat inherited that same vision, since we very often use to say: “it looks real!” when we appreciate a drawing, a painting or a sculpture. 
So, shall we say that something is art, if it just looks “hyper-realistic”? Well, not exactly.  That sort of “perfect imitation”, in fact, has not to be intended as the exact copy, of what we can find in nature, but it’s about imitating the nature, in its whole “creating process”. In other words, we don’t have, e.g., to simply copy a human body, but we should try, to re-create it on our canvas, sheet, or plastic material.
That’s why, understanding proportions and knowing the human anatomy, is essential, because we have to give life to a new creature, even if only a “virtual” one.
Aside that, the final result can be far from being photorealistic, nevertheless our figure will look alive!
A little example: there are two ways of representing a simple blade of grass (as well as a single hair). The non-mimetic one, in which we just copy the shape, regardless to its “nature”; and the mimetic one, in which we know (and follow) the direction where it grows. Both results may look similar, but the second one is also conceptually correct.
About figure drawing, the outline of a body tells us a lot about its nature, because it suggests inner structures and forms, and a very slight variation of the contour, can give life to the whole drawing. So pay attention to those small bulges and depressions, because the strength of your drawing may depend a lot on them.
The cross hatching can be another way to perform our analysis, since we can use it to investigate, and better understand, shapes and volumes. Furthermore, it gives to our work that vibrating look that imitates those slight variations of the light, or those small movements of a living creature, but also the real yet  invisible swarming of cells, atoms and particles.
So the basic idea is to understand the nature and structure of what we are going to represent the best we can. On my blog, you can find a few suggestions about good books on Art Anatomy, but if you feel like studying quantum mechanics, or botanic, or astronomy, just do it: feel free to investigate the reality in such directions, Leonardo Da Vinci would be proud of you!
Happy drawing!
And thanks for watching!

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