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Learn to Draw > the castle study continued

Next come the diagonals. The most insistent are those of the hillside, the steps, and the chapel roof. We hold the paper at arm's length, and gauging the slopes by sloping the extended pencil, we draw them in. The position of the right-hand vanishing point for the frontage of the building is found in the same way.

our subject for the next few exercises

The left-hand one is so far out to the left that we content ourselves with judging the slopes on the left. After this it is easy to find the correct angle for the slope of the tops of the towers and articulations of the walls.

Another important diagonal leads to the highest tower along the tops of the left-hand group of trees. The main tree tops we already marked in at the beginning as vertical accents. Now they become the starting point for further lines of contact which outline the spaces between the trees.



We finish the play of lines with an allusion to the left-hand mountains, the outline. of the surrounding walls to the right, and the background behind them. There could also be an indication of the lay of-the clouds; often the direction and shape of clouds as they are blown by the wind is characteristic of this landscape. A light diagonal hatching might tone in the building and the most important dark places, and a few last strokes can show the rough textures in the grass and the areas where details will be needed in the tree and mountain masses.

All this will have taken only a few moments. Now we must study our work from a distance and compare it with the original: We may, perhaps, make a correction or two with a heavier line and compare the drawing again with the landscape, this time through the viewing frame. Then, we finally decide where to cut off the picture with a penciled frame.

our subject for the next few exercises

If the lines have been soft enough, the study can be given some sort of rounding off with stronger lines, behind which the network of tentative strokes almost disappears. We now have before us an uncritical note. The closer it has come to the correct proportions, the better it is. If our practice and experience are adequate and the drawing large enough, we can now consider our preliminary work as done and go home with our study to work our information into the various final forms that will already have suggested themselves to us. Our aim should always be to keep the whole in mind and not get lost in detail too soon. A picture should grow altogether like a plant or a tree, so that the areas where details will be needed in the tree and mountain masses.

All this will have taken only a few moments. Now we must study our work from a distance and compare it with the original: We may, perhaps, make a correction or two with a heavier line and compare the drawing again with the landscape, this time through the viewing frame. Then, we finally decide where to cut off the picture with a penciled frame. If the lines have been soft enough, the study can be given some sort of rounding off with stronger lines, behind which the network of tentative strokes almost disappears.

our subject for the next few exercises

We now have before us an uncritical note. The closer it has come to the correct proportions, the better it is. If our practice and experience are adequate and the drawing large enough, we can now consider our preliminary work as done and go home with our study to work our information into the various final forms that will already have suggested themselves to us. Our aim should always be to keep the whole in mind and not get lost in detail too soon. A picture should grow altogether like a plant or a tree, so that whenever we stop work we should have reached some stage of completion.

When making this uncritical copy of the subject, we are certain here and there to have felt that something, either a detail or a more general area, seemed "awkward." The further we go with the drawing the clearer it becomes, until we gradually see how to enhance the character of the whole without giving it completely different features.

our subject for the next few exercises

In the final check to compare the model with the study, the viewing frame alone will show that we have made some unconscious exaggerations. Generally this is seen mainly in the diagonals: the steep ones made too steep, the flatter ones too flat. This subjective and unintentional distortion is the beginning of real artistic creation. The next step is deliberate distortion or alteration, and a critical analysis of the original "copy," which leads to a creative composition.

Again we take a sheet of paper which allows plenty of free space. The reduction of a colored landscape into a structure of lines and light and dark masses is made much simpler if we first find the focal point, the center of gravity of the picture. In our example it is concentrated on the entrance to the surrounding wall, where the top of the hill is centered; all the main lines and movements lead to it: the verticals of the towers, the outlines of the areas of grass, and the steps. Even the far lines of the mountains and sky curve towards this point or bend in its direction. The walls of the building stand over it like a resting pyramid, towards which the slope of the pyramids of trees moves with a rising rhythm.


Next: castle study continued

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