Sunday, September 29, 2013

Looking Drawing Seeing

Ocelot statue, Schoolcraft College
Here Kitty Kitty
copyright 2013, Stephanie Maatta Smith
Our midweek photography exercise was to use drawing as a way to see and discover. Must admit I'm not much of a doodler, let alone drawing for inspiration. But in the spirit of the exercise, I was able to really focus on the lines bringing together a strong image. This starts with a small story. Late this week I attended our annual faculty retreat at a lovely conference center near home. On our lunch break, a colleague and I decided to walk around the campus of the facility, and happened upon a courtyard with a statue of an ocelot. What a perfect subject for a looking, drawing, seeing exercise. I snapped a couple of images with my mobile phone and decided to return on the weekend with pencil, paper and DSLR.

statue of ocelot, Schoolcraft College
Posing as a House Cat
copyright 2013, Stephanie Maatta Smith
image of ocelot statue, Schoolcraft College
Ocelot Intensity
copyright 2013, Stephanie Maatta Smith
My discoveries -- don't show anyone my pencil art. In the words of my ancestors "Uftda." What the attempt did reveal is a focus on lines and curves and geometric shapes. Seriously, it was a learning experience, not in the drawing but in the moving around and looking at the statue from a variety of angles and then translating what I was seeing into images. The mobile image of "Here Kitty Kitty" reminded me of my own cat, perched on the back of a chair watching the action through the window. The closer view and slightly different angle in "Posing as a House Cat" added the sense of wildness to the image, intense gaze, curled paws. "Ocelot Intensity" displays a similar feeling of predator sensing something in the distance.

The other thing that struck me is the different feelings that each angle provoked from intensely gazing to relaxed alertness.
ocelot statue back view, Schoolcraft College
Ocelot Lounge
copyright 2013, Stephanie Maatta Smith
 Some angles vividly pointed out that were this cat alive, he would be a predator. Others made me think of my own house pets, enjoying a lounge on the sofa.

I'm not quite ready to run out and buy myself a sketch pad, but there is certainly value in taking time to stop and really see the elements that draw me into the image. And that, I believe, is the real lesson in the drawing exercise.

1 comment:

  1. You have definitely interpreted the purpose of the exercise correctly! It's not so much the drawing, it's the looking closely that drawing forces you to do. If you can do that without drawing, then you achieve the same effect, which you highlighted here beautifully. I like what you have to say about how the different angles interpret different aspects. There is a difference in feel between the different angles. In some I feel the taught awareness of the cat more than others. Wonderful job on this exercise!