This idea comes from two main sources, ”Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” and ”Drawing with the Left Side of the Brain” as well as my own observations.
I’m not a particularly good artist and I’m a novice drawer at best. But that I believe put me in the perfect position to make the observation that I made last week while preparing an observation post with my patrol. The observation is based on two ideas from the two aforementioned books. Namely the difference between empirical and romantic thought and the postulation that to draw an object one needs to remove the preconceived models from our perception of the subject.
Before we can discuss the main topic of this post I believe that is important to properly the two ideas I’ve extracted from the literature. For the first, the difference between empirical and romantic thought processes, we need to define the two thought processes so that it is then possible demonstrate the difference between the two. The empirical thought process is one which is commonly used in science and technology and is used to create an abstraction of the world so that relationships can be found. The way this is done by the mind is to classify objects perceived by the senses into categories. The nature of this abstraction however, is infinite. Each object can be forever split into further smaller and smaller component objects. This process creates a hierarchical view of the world. An example would be a tree. First there is the tree object, it is divided into leaves, branches, roots and perhaps a trunk. These objects in turn can then be further deconstructed into their component objects. This process can continue all the way down to bosons. The romantic thought process is one which is more associated to art and does not create abstractions in the perceived world, instead it takes the world as a whole. The romantic view will not make the distinctions between the objects created by the empirical thought process. Therefore, given a tree it will see the individual tree without classifying it with the other trees and not breaking it down into component parts.
The postulation made in ”Drawing with the Left Hand Side of the Brain” that to draw one needs to strip ones models from the perception of the world is a sound one. Often when people are drawing, instead of copying what their senses report onto a piece of paper they will cling to the abstractions their mind has made and try to draw generic class objects which may have nothing to do with what they are seeing.
This argument while sound, I believe goes too far. When drawing a landscape for instance, as I was doing last week, one needs to separate it out into separate parts so as to be able to draw the entire scene. The mistake that I made while drawing is that, while I abandoned my models to a certain degree I kept getting caught out by the componentization of the objects I was drawing and while the object was well drawn it was too big in the landscape because I wanted to add too much detail from the component parts.
The thing to do then would be to keep the empirical thought process involved in the drawing but change its basic premise, which has it cut up the world to look for relationships and perform analysis and have it cut up the world into light and dark strokes and shapes. With this way of cutting up the environment around them, I believe that anyone in the world would be able to draw from observation to a recognisable level. Just my two cents in a random splurge at stupid o clock in the morning.