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Here's where we were:

"Illustrating the Paradox"

Here's a less complicated illustration than the elephant example. (And it's actually an introduction to what you'll be learning in lesson 8: proportion and perspective.) You're looking at an office desk. Try to describe it in words. What can you say about it? You might say "this table is made of stained pine, has square corners, it plywood legs that are really enclosing sides, which rest flat on the horizontal floor, the top is a rectangular plane, and it has two drawers".

The problem is, if you're not looking at a technical drawing of the table where you see an exact side view, or exact top view, then you're probably not seeing perfect square corners. You're looking down at it from a distance, or you're looking at it obliquely in a three-quarter view.

Here's the desk:

Real world office table/desk

What's the point?

When most people without "R-mode" training go to draw this table, it ends up looking roughly like this:

The "symbolic view"

How would you describe this version of the table? You could say everything you said about it above. But would you still think it's the same table? It has two drawers, a rectangular top, it's a pretty unremarkable table. Look at the corners though. Compare them. Everything in the "symbolic view" is a right angle - a perfect square.

Why is that?

Why's that? Well simply, it's because you knew - excuse me, I mean the artist knew the table has a square top, square corners, and square drawers. He has the picture in his brain - he drew his pre-loaded, at the ready, abstracted to go version. This is not the real world version he was seeing right before his eyes. (We touched on this in the section about "your history as an artist: at the home site.)

Oblique corners, that is corners viewed from other than straight on, appear distorted to the eye. Still you know they're square. Drawing them however requires a letting go of any preconceived idea about how they ought to look. In R-mode you're drawing what you see out there in the world. Not to worry. You'll be getting direct, hands on training on how to deal with things like corners and curves in the next Lesson.

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