Drawing Class – Week 4

One-point and two-point perspective occupied our full attention for the fourth class session.

Pia set up a cityscape of boxes, all parallel to the tile squares on the floor, and seated us on the floor along the sides of the studio, so we had a view more or less parallel to the streets of the city. That gave us a pretty close approximation of a one-point perspective view of the city. Pia told us to just assume that all vertical edges were vertical, and to frame our drawing so that the eye-level horizon line was within the picture plane.

After lots more measuring and sighting, a vanishing point emerged and guided the rest of the drawing.

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Then we moved to the corners of the studio, and drew the city in two-point perspective. The horizon line was still to be within the picture plane, but the vanishing points were beyond the side edges.

Drawing-1-17

The homework assignment was to make one drawing of a deep architectural space. The suggestion was to use parallel (one-point) perspective, or, if using angular (two-point) perspective, to choose an exterior view to keep the vanishing points on the outside. However, it was permitted to try angular perspective for an interior view, for an extra challenge, “but only if you really feel you understand the principles very well”. Several students chose to take on the extra challenge, including me.

Drawing-1-18

Homework 4. Grade: A+. Pia’s comment: Paul – excellent work! Let me just say one more time, ANY of your works that you are willing to donate to my collection (at end of quarter) will find a very appreciative home. But again – no pressure – just if you want.

This was the first homework assignment that really ate up a lot of time. I had been thinking of doing a building exterior, but when the deadline loomed, the day was rainy. I had to work inside, and at home. I almost despaired of finding a suitable deep architectural space at home. These modern homes are full of short walls, funny angles, and curves. In fact, just outside the frame to the right is a diagonal wall that I had to crop out to keep everything rectilinear.

The sketching part of this assignment took a long time. It took several tries to get the scale right and fit everything the way I wanted it. The composition is pretty fragile — it needs the pony wall across the bottom, but it can’t spill over onto the diagonal wall to the right, and so on. It ended up with more blank ceiling than I would have preferred. Left to my own devices I would probably have trimmed off the top, but it seemed like we were supposed to stick with 18×24 inch paper.

Ah, those shutters! They really pull the perspective together in this scene, but look at all those details. I spent a significant fraction of the time just filling all those lines in, even though I made some compromises with reality and omitted some of the more difficult details. As you might imagine, my living room wasn’t really that neat and tidy, either. Now there’s something drawing has over photography: you don’t have to draw the clutter.

It was just luck that the right-hand vanishing point ended up on the paper. That made it much easier to get the shutters right. I constructed them with a straightedge. It would have been impossible (or at least very time-consuming) to get them right freehand. They don’t look too perfect because I did the final charcoal pencil contour lines freehand.

There wasn’t supposed to be any shading in this drawing, but the wording of the assignment didn’t explicitly prohibit it. I couldn’t resist shading the black stone around the fireplace and the black leather recliner and footstool, because the shapes didn’t really parse with just the contour outlines. The three-legged stool ended up shaded too, because its legs are so narrow the lines ran together.

Comparing the drawing to reality in retrospect, the chairs and sofa are too small. There’s a tee-shaped cross bar between the legs of the stool that I completely forgot to draw. Otherwise, ignoring the missing clutter, it looks pretty much like that. The ceiling fan isn’t a small one, but it really does get swallowed up by lots of blank ceiling.

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