Thursday, February 11, 2010


I think I signed up for Feb. IF not, sorry if I am jumping in ahead of someone.

I was thinking of doing a post about observation. I wanted to talk about how much easier it is to do a work of art about something if you have spent time observing it.

For instance, I usually try to get images of something if I don't actually have it on hand to look at closely. I try to get views in different positions so I can have more of a 3D or realistic view of it.

At present, I have downloaded several images of a frilled lizard because I think I want to do a dragon with a sort of ruff behind his head. Seeing how the frill on the lizard behaves will help me to make a more believable dragon. I have different views of the way the frill of the lizard stands up. I have different views of the colours that show in different lights. And while looking at images of the frilled lizard, I saw that some of the positions the lizard stands in while trying to scare off predators can give me a bit of insight about how legs can be made attach to the body of a dragon so they are believable, too.

Interestingly enough, tonight I had two separate conversations about with an artist and one with the museum's community education officer at an exhibition where some of my work is included.

The artist had done a painting which included peacock feathers. I commented on how well she had done the fine floaty feathers on the shank of the feather. She said she hadn't been able to find any feathers, so had to rely on photos. She still wished she could find some feathers. Because the work was somewhat abstracted, it didn't matter that the eye of the feathers wasn't extremely realistic. But when she does get the feathers, I think she will probably try to do the feathers again with all the knowledge of having observed the real thing.(I have some I will give her, they were given to me by a friend, moulted by a peacock on a farm she knows.)

The conversation with the museum's community education officer had to do with a quote from an artist who had done some work with children in a school. He said something about the fact that he doesn't teach children to draw, he teaches them to observe. Besides the fact that it spoke so well to the post I was already thinking of doing here, I thought it was very wise. I have already come to the conclusion that I am happier with the pieces I have researched or observed in one way or another first.

And then just to take things just a bit futher, some times experience of an event or feeling works in a similar way to observation or research in giving validity to a piece.

What do you think about it all?