Friday, September 12, 2008
The Last Cow Discovered?
My ignorance of the beautiful French language is on display in this post. To me, "Lascaux" sounds like "Last Cow". And, indeed the Caves at Lascaux do feature some cows - among the first known cow paintings. Perhaps the French should have called the place "First Cow".
Be that as it may, today is the anniversary of the discovery of the caves, on September 12th, 1940, by a dog and his entourage of four boys. Pre-historic art, so called, is an endless source of fascination to the artist. Was the early artist a "magician" or "shaman", because of his inexplicable ability to represent the natural world by drawing? There are early man paintings in my own area, and what little kid wouldn't wish to be the first to discover a rock wall covered with something like that?
As I prepare to teach an upcoming class on drawing, I am asking myself many questions about the activity of drawing. Is it "magic", or in other words, reserved for a special person, or type of person? Or is drawing available to anyone?
Matisse, who is the subject of my current studies at The Colorist, has said that a drawing must "be decisive!" Does he mean decisive like in the use of the double envelopment (also first displayed on this day at the Battle of Marathon, in 490 B.C.) ? Or, does he mean to make marks with authority, and not tentatively or weakly?
So, today instead of Five answers for Friday, I have put these questions to my kind readers. What are your feelings about drawing, and how it should be taught?
Note: I want to give credit where credit is due. The earliest evidences of art, although muddled in with functional and craft objects, are actually ceramics, and not drawings or paintings. This could be due to archival reasons, but there you have it. Of some comfort to the pride of the painter, the earliest known art object may be a Venus figurine painted with Red Ochre.