6th Lecture 2016 »The Moments of Participating«
“We who draw do so not only to make something visible to others, but also to accompany something invisible to its incalculable destination.
Drawing is a form of probing. And the first generic impulse to draw derives from the human need to search, to plot points, to place things and to place oneself.
When I'm drawing - and here drawing is very different from writing or reasoning - I have the impression at certain moments of participating in something like a visceral function, such as digestion or sweating, a function that is independent of the conscious will. This impression is exaggerated, but the practice or pursuit of drawing touches, or is touched by, something prototypical and anterior to logical reasoning.
There is a symbiotic desire to get closer and closer, to enter the self of what is being drawn, and, simultaneously, there is the foreknowledge of immanent distance. Such drawings aspire to be both a secret rendezvous and an au revoir! Alternately and ad infinitum.”
― John Berger, Bento's Sketchbook, 2014
(John Peter Berger, born 1926, is an English art critic, novelist, painter and poet)
“I have been in love with painting ever since I became conscious of it at the age of six. I drew some pictures I thought fairly good when I was fifty, but really nothing I did before the age of seventy was of any value at all. At seventy-three I have at last caught every aspect of nature–birds, fish, animals, insects, trees, grasses, all. When I am eighty I shall have developed still further and I will really master the secrets of art at ninety.
When I reach a hundred my work will be truly sublime and my final goal will be attained around the age of one hundred and ten, when every line and dot I draw will be imbued with life.“
Hokusai Katsushika, The Art Crazy Old Man, 1834
Maurice Merleau-Ponty: When I begin to reflect my reflection bears upon an unreflective experience; moreover my reflection cannot be unaware of itself as an event, and so it appears to itself in the light of a truly creative act, of a changed structure of consciousness, and yet it has to recognize, as having priority over its own operations, the world which is given to the subject because the subject is given to himself.
Cennino Cennini: CHAP. 11.–How to draw with a leaden style.
It is possible also to draw on parchment without bone-dust with a style of lead; that is, with two parts of lead, and one of tin, well beaten with a hammer.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty: The real has to be described, not constructed or formed. Which means that I cannot put perception into the same category as the syntheses represented by judgements, acts or predications.
Cennino Cennini: CHAP. 12. How, when drawing with a leaden style, an error may be corrected.
You may draw on paper also with the above mentioned leaden style,' either with or without bone dust; and if at any time you make an error, or you wish to remove any marks made by the leaden style, take a little crumb of bread, rub it over the paper, and efface whatever you please. And on this kind of paper, in the same manner, you may shade with ink, or colours, or clothlet tints (pezzuole), with the before mentioned vehicle.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty: My field of perception is constantly filled with a play of colours, noises and fleeting tactile sensations which I cannot relate precisely to the context of my clearly perceived world, yet which I nevertheless immediately ‘place’ in the world, without ever confusing them with my daydreams.
Cennino Cennini: CHAP. 13.–How drawing with the pen should be practised.
When you have practised drawing in this manner one year, either more or less, according to the pleasure you take in it, you may sometimes draw on paper with a fine-pointed pen.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty: Equally constantly I weave dreams round things. I imagine people and things whose presence is not incompatible with the context, yet who are not in fact involved in it: they are ahead of reality, in the realm of the imaginary.
Cennino Cennini: Draw lightly, working up your lights and your half-lights and your shades gradually, retouching many lines with your pen. And if you would have your drawing more highly finished use a little water-colour, as before directed, with a blunt-pointed mineever brush.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty: If the reality of my perception were based solely on the intrinsic coherence of ‘representations’, it ought to be for ever hesitant and, being wrapped up in my conjectures on probabilities.
Cennino Cennini: Do you know what will be the consequence of this practice of drawing with the pen ? It will make you expert, skilfull, and capable of making original designs.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty: I ought to be ceaselessly taking apart misleading synthesis, and reinstating in reality stray phenomena which I had excluded in the first place. But this does not happen.
Cennino Cennini: CHAP. 14.–How to make a pen for the purpose of drawing.
If you would know how to make a pen of a goosequill, take a firm quill, place it on the two fingers of the left hand, the under side of the quill upwards; take a good sharp penknife, and cut away about the width of a finger along the length of the quill, and cut it drawing the penknife towards you, taking care that the cut should be even and in the middle of the pen.
Katsushika Hokusai (1760 – 1849) was a Japanese artist, ukiyo-e painter and printmaker of the Edo period. Hokusai is best known as author of several woodblock print series.
About: Katsushika Hokusai, Ryakuga haya-oshie, Quick Guide to Drawing, 1 volume 1812
In one of his educational book, Hokusai taught student to “evolve pictorial forms out of calligraphic pictograms.”
The other interesting example in this book is the technique of using circles and straight lines drafting the shape. Here we can see the “rudimentary kind of cubism avant la letter“.
When I begin to reflect, my reflection bears upon an unreflected experience.
The subject is given
with two parts of lead, and one of tin, well beaten with a hammer
The real has to be described
with ink, or colours, or clothlet tints (pezzuola: a cloth, soaked with ink).
My field of perception is constantly filled with a play of colours, noises and fleeting tactile sensations
according to the pleasure you take in it, you may draw on paper with a fine-pointed pen.
Constantly I weave dreams around things
as before directed, with a blunt-pointed minever brush.
If the reality of my perception were based solely on the intrinsic coherence of ‘representations’, do you know what will be the consequence of this practice of drawing?
I ought to be ceaselessly taking apart misleading synthesis. But this does not happen;
take a good sharp penknife and cut away about the width of a finger.