The Art Gallery
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You can represent or describe the meeting of two
objects or shapes (the shared edge) with
a single drawn line - that's called a contour
or contour line. A "shared
edge" and a "contour" are pretty
much the same thing - except, you regard the
contour as a single thing. You regard
the recorded shape of that meeting of shapes as a
drawn line. The drawn line is the contour: the
recorded shared edge. (See Lesson 4.)
- Composition is the set of things
that make up a picture, all that is included
within a format. A
composition is nothing more than the arrangement
of positive objects and negative
spaces within the format. It may of may
not have unity. (See lesson 6.)
- Crest Shadow. This is the shadow
that falls on the curved portion of a rounded
object. It covers the zone between the highlight
and the reflected light. Rarely is it one shade
of shadow like it looks here. It's usually
darkest at the point farthest from both highlight
and reflected light. It's also the key in
conveying three dimensionality in an object.
- Cast Shadow. It's the shadow
cast by the direct blockage of light. The cast
shadow is usually the darkest shadow. (Lesson 9)
- Cross-hatching: the method of
using a series of parallel lines to depict
- Cupid's bow is the line the
upper and lower lip make where they meet. Cupid's
Bow is actually the contour - the shared
edge - between the upper and lower lip.
Specifically it's the most most down-curved
section right the center of the upper lip.
grid. To simplify the scene in front of
the artist, and make manageable proportion and
perspective, a gentleman named Albrecht
Durer put on his thinking beanie and
came up with this great idea: break down the
scene you're trying to draw into lots of smaller
pictures. The grid is a viewfinder of sorts, in
this case a wire mesh grid made up of horizontal
and vertical wires the artist would look through
to view his subject. With squares of the grid
reproduced in exact proportion on the drawing
paper the task of the artist was to reproduce in
each of the drawing paper squares exactly what he
sees through the grid in front of him.
In drawing, an edge is where something ends and
another thing begins - where two things meet.
I'll illustrate. Look at your hand - hold it up
in front of your eyes with fingers splayed and
palm towards your face. With one eye closed,
focus on the outline of your hand. There you are,
looking at your hand with nothing but air
surrounding it. The edge is where air meets
your hand. It forms an outline.
the "bounded" area you're drawing in -
like the 8 1/2" x 11" piece of paper
you're reading this on if you printed it out.
Like the frame around a painting, or the shape
you see containing your subject when you look
through a camera viewfinder (usually rectangular
or square). You can think of the pages of a book
as the format for the text: all the text and
pictures are written within the edges of the
paper. Like an aquarium is a container that holds
all the fish.
(Definition form Webster's) "to shorten some
lines of an object to give the illusion of proper
- The "ground" - an
artist's technique by which an intermediate tone
(between the white of the paper and the darkest
black of the medium) is layered over the paper
first. Erase into it for highlight, color over it
for darkest shadows.
- Glabella - the
meaty little bundle of flesh between the eyebrows
and just above the nose. A consequence of
contraction of the procerus and corrugator
muscles of the forehead.
- The Highlight. The Highlight is
the brightest light on the page or object. This
is the area where light falls at it's most direct
on the object.
- Infra-orbital folds - the little
rings of fleshy skin under the eyes. Also called
space: is the background.
Negative space is often the "nothing"
shapes, the non-object shapes that surround the
object you're drawing. When you hold your hand up
in front of your face, you hold it against a
background of air - the air between your hand and
whatever else that was behind it. Paint all that
air black, remove the hand, and you have the
- Neuro-Linguistic Programming
(NLP): words and symbols become so charged with
meaning, that just uttering the wrong word or
seeing a the wrong gesture can throw you into a
panic, passion, or a blind flurry. NLP is the
study of physiological reaction that can be
associated to a word or object. Can be both a
positive association (like when you see a picture
of someone you're infatuated with), or very
negative in the case of phobias.
- Naso-labial folds - the skin
folds that run from side of your nose, define the
lower margin of your cheeks and course to the
corners of your mouth.
- Premise of the
"R-mode" drawing system: "present the dominant left
hemisphere of the brain with a task it finds
either too complicated or boring, and so it
"shuts down", thus allowing the
non-dominant right hemisphere to take
Form is the subject of a composition. If
you were drawing a bird flying in the sky, the
bird is the positive form. The shape around the
bird - the sky, the air, anything
"non-bird" is the negative space.
Contour: a drawing technique where the
object drawn is drawn without the drawer ever
looking at the drawing paper or taking his eyes
off the object being drawn. (Boy, did that sound
is simply the study of how an object changes
apparent size with distance: the farther away
something is, the smaller. The closer, the
bigger. (Lesson 8)
refers to relative size. If a six foot
man is standing next to a 12 foot tree, no matter
how far away we are from the pair (the tree and
the man), the tree will always be twice as tall
as the man . If we're doing an accurate drawing
of this pair, we'll always draw the tree two
times taller, whether we're working in half scale
or one-thousandth scale. (Lesson 8)
plane: The two dimensional surface you
envision your subject to exist in, or the two
dimensional surface you draw your subject on.
Examples. The computer screen you're viewing this
on is two dimensional. It acts as a picture
plane. The paper you draw on is a two dimensional
surface on which you "collapse" the
three dimensional world you're drawing. It too is
a picture plane. When you stick your arm out in
front of you to gauge and perform
"sighting", you're relating everything
"out there" in the world on to an
imaginary picture plane at the end of your arm.
- R-mode: The partially misnamed
mode of mind you enter when you become intimately
aware of the information coming in from your
senses. Also called the "intuitive"
brain, holistic, non-linear, non-verbal,
associative, subjective, artistic, free,
imaginative, visual brain, etc.
"Right"- brained because people damaged
or with physical trauma to this side of the
physical brain had a sudden inability to function
visually. Misnamed in part since not all of it's
functions can be attributed to just the right
side of the brain, hence "R-mode".
- Reflected Light. Look for this
tricky and somewhat sneaky light on any surface.
(It's actually light reflected from the
environment and other surrounding objects.)
edge: The line where two different
objects meet in space - not necessarily where
they touch - but where it appears to the eye they
contact, like where the ocean and the sky meet:
at the horizon. That's a shared edge.
the terms artist use when they
visually compare angles, size proportions,
ratios, angles and relationships in space.
- Scale Adjustment Faculty: a
magical function of the brain that zooms you in
or out of anything you're paying close visual
attention to. For instance, if you're watching a
baseball game from the highest seats in a large
stadium (the "nose bleed section"),
Your brain will "zoom" you in closer to
where you are. Shows up in disproportionate
drawings. (Lesson 8)
- Tone suggests color,
individual colors. Values suggest a
range of shades within that color.
- Upside-down drawing: Literally
drawing with the subject upside down. Why? It
makes the object being drawn something entirely
unnamable and new to the eye. So, you can't name
it, you can't categorize it and thus you have to
see it for what is: a unique shape.
How all the different parts of a picture fit
together, how the sum of shared edges, contours,
negative spaces, and positive forms create a
viewfinder is anything that you
use to limit and define what you're looking at.
You look through it. It allows you to
"frame" your subjects the same way you
"frame" objects and people when you
look into a camera or a telescope or a video
camera. You could even stretch the definition of
"viewfinder" to a window in your home,
it'll work if what you're drawing is the view out
your window. It imposes a shape, a boundary
around whatever you're viewing. Viewfinders and
formats should match each other proportionately -
i.e., if your viewfinder is square, so should
your format. If your viewfinder's vertical edge
is two times longer than it's horizontal edge,
then so your format should be of the same
- Values suggest a range of shades
within a color. Tone suggests the original
starting color. E.g. Black could be your starting
color, but gray a lighter value or shade of it.
- Vermillion border - the line
where lip and skin meet. Also notable for a
change in color and texture from the flat color
of skin to the shiny red or pink of the actual
Revised: August 08, 2001.
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