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Line, Play of Dimensions

Have you ever seen a beautiful outline tattoo of an exotic animal and wonder how can it be so simple jet so perfect? You can try to recreate it but it can never be as mesmerizing as the original. Is it the pen you are using, or the paper that’s making your attempt futile? Line is a magical thing that is limited only by an artist’s understanding of the work at hand. It can be thin and wavy, short and straight, or it can look nothing like a line. But what does it take to truly become the master of the first dimension?

Not knowing the importance of this basic element of art, DuDe accidentally developed his own line style in that drawing, drawing, drawing, period. Now, a line style is only acceptable when the whole piece of art is created using the same style and by the same artist. But when you are creating something new, the line should reflect that one specific thing and not the general style. DuDe was lucky he didn’t know anything about lines, so he used many different types in order to achieve artistic perfection. It took some time but the result was stunning. Complete control over the tool from the first dimension. His sketches still have the same lines, but the finished piece always takes something special from the line menu.

The most interesting thing about a line is the duality of its dimensions and the way it contradicts itself. A line is one-dimensional. Length. That’s all there is. Nevertheless it occupies a two-dimensional space of the canvas making it transcend its linear nature in order to give an artist freedom of creation. From the lines point of view, there is only forwards and backwards, but an artist can see its future as well as its past. This allows him to guide his creative tools and own every little spec of that crumbled led.

When we draw a line it is not a perfect mathematical representation made of an infinite number of non-dimensional points. We can see it, which means it has a certain thickness, and is, in fact, not a line, but a surface. The only way an artist can draw a line is by thinking of his creation as a one-dimensional object. The moment in which he stops creating a mark with only one dimension in mind is the moment that mark becomes a surface. It boils down to the way in which we represent true meanings of our artistic subjects. Lines take their shape from an artist’s perception and their character from their will to submit.

Even though there aren’t many things in real life that are represented as lines, their use has a much larger spectrum of meaning, from abstraction to inverse function. We use this basic tool to show almost everything, making it the most important of all primary artistic elements. Like most things, you can train your line, just remember who’s the boss. As long as you are a good guide the line will follow.

DuDe

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Line meaning
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Line strenght
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Line type
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Abstract art

Drawing a stickman is easy, everyone can do it. Take that pen, make a circle, a couple of lines and voila! But when does a stickman stop being a stickman? When does he stop representing a man and becomes a bunch of lines and shapes? We do not need a face, or fingers, or feet in order to know what this masterpiece is. This way of thinking, that we all develop at an early age, makes our minds able to understand general truths about the world we live in. Are you seeking these truths, are you an artist?

DuDe used casual abstraction for the most of his life just like any other person. This means that what you see is what you make simpler in order to use it more efficiently, but architecture once again saved the day. Through multi-level design he found out that abstraction is a curtail tool for turning ideas into reality. It was a simple process of cutting up a concept into its most basic forms in order to associate them with real world things, like space and materials. This is usually the way architects do it and it only shows the potential of abstract thinking.

When it comes to visual arts, abstract work is usually created with the most basic items of the artistic spectrum: light, color, shapes… This is the product of decomposing things until they are nothing more than the atomos, basic building blocks. It is up to the artist to determine how far down this rabbit hole he will go in order to show his idea.

Visual abstraction is not the only way of getting closer to the beating heart of the universe. Ideas can also be generalized through language, in our case, written word. When a writer uses your favorite metaphor about life being a river, or a women being a flower, he is not only creating a connection between those two ideas, but also showing that an idea can be represented in a simpler manner. This hierarchy is highly contextual  and requires a deep understanding of its subjects in order to let readers piece it back together. Or they can let the readers get lost.

It is always a challenge to find that sweet spot where the level of abstraction accurately represents your idea. Artists today are no longer forced to take abstraction just a few levels deep in order for a spectator to recognize its origins. As long as you are willing to spend more time thinking than working, only the truth of the cosmos is the limit.

Our brains are designed for abstract thinking and some of the most important things that make living today possible, like mathematics, are nothing more than centuries of abstract decomposition. In this way an artist is a scientist’s equal, he sees things no one else does. So next time someone tells you that he can paint that too, just splash some color on a canvas, remind him of the mental work involved and that this art piece was as challenging as that calculus class he failed three times.

DuDe

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Abstract black and white
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Abstract freedom
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Train of Thought

Train of Thought

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Window in the front,

portal by his side.

Performed a stunt,

and stopped the ride.

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For him, it was a choice made,

for others, no other way.

Walls were only there to aid,

bricks for someone else to lay.

There was no need to be afraid,

for everything, they had to pay.

Time he wished he could trade,

for tracks that sometimes go stray.

Forest always seen as a shade,

not answering, when they pray.

In the end, the words will fade,

everything is written in the final play.

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To care for lights,

he was taught.

Now through nights,

the train of thought.

DuDe

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smal art BIG ART

Feel safe when you can hold a piece of art in the palm of your hand? How about a notebook, briefcase or a wall sized piece of art? Must be wondering who is in control, the spectator or the art? Either he is immersed in the gaping colorful display, or feels overwhelmed by his inability to perceive the whole piece as one. When an artist starts his playful work he is the one in control, the leader of his tools, the king of his medium, even if it is just an experiment. How does he feel when he can’t see more than 10% of his canvas?

If you were to ask DuDe if size matters, just a few years ago he would have said yes. Smaller is better. In fact, he would have said that tiny art is the best art. Control is the key. If you can get from one side of your piece all the way to the other side without lifting your wrist from the table, that’s when you’re the boss of your art. But then all that architecture happened and DuDe learned that big can also be good, if you know how to handle it.

DuDe’s first large artwork was a drawing of an abstract spatial model. There was nothing more than a few rectangles and it looked like a good fit for a few by few inch  piece of paper, but he decided to do it on a much larger one. The process was frightening, but the result was totally unexpected. It looked good. That is the moment DuDe started to understand scale.

Architecture is a beautiful profession but usually boils down to how you present your idea. Buildings are big and you can’t always show everything in its real size, so you use scale to show different aspects of your work. Although, in architecture, this does not mean that there will be a big difference in image size it still uses the same basic principle of any art. You can’t show everything the same way in ten different sizes. Scaling means change. Small artworks give DuDe a sense of dominance and ownership, they are his little subjects. Medium pieces put him in the same position as them and let him communicate as an equal. Large scale works take DuDe for a ride, feeding him all their beauty one spoonful at a time.

There are many reasons behind the form of every great piece of art. Size is not the measure of value. It is the measure of understanding the dept of the work that you are doing. This does not mean that you can’t draw a few lines on a wall sized canvas, or a fully realistic portrait on a nail sized paper. You just have to understand.

Don’t be fooled though, you can still do everything when it comes to art. Scale it ten times. See for yourself. Even if it is the same piece you started with it will not be anymore. It will have transformed.

DuDe

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A forest walk
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Industrial city small
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Industrial city medium
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Industrial city large
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Industrial city detail
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A Dream in Blue

A Dream in Blue

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Treading on a thread

through a needle head,

said it was too sad

to paint life red.

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Made a promise to a little bird

to let her dreams be heard,

took a turn heading for the top

didn’t turn around, didn’t stop,

took the praise not earned

left every little soul burned.

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Felt the guilt of nothing kept

believed the little heart wept,

was amazed to see her fly

forgiveness hidden in the eye,

higher than one could climb,

only with a gentle chime.

.

Silent birds flew

to them nothing new,

all that was said true

now a dream in blue.

DuDe

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Little bird
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Acrylic painting “A dream in blue” by DuDess
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First time painting

First time is always special, right? That warm sensation of anticipation accumulating. Awkward first touch, but a steady firm hand determined to succeed. Then you put it in. Feel the soft resistance of that wet mushy medium. Slide it left and right until you can feel it taking over your sensitive tool. Then you are ready, even in your wildest dreams you couldn’t have really imagined this feeling. Inhale. Exhale. Tense your muscles and leave a pasty abstract mark. Was it like that for you?

When DuDe painted for the very first time, that is what it was like. We are not going to count all the finger painting and that one time in middle school when he got angry because his brother painted ice on fire which made him question his sanity and left him with dozens of half realistic paintings in the search for his lost sense of existence. See, Dude was a noob, but he was lucky to have his first time with DuDess who knew her way around a brush. It was just a couple of years ago, so DuDe was also lucky enough to have acquired a wide grasp on abstract thinking from all that architecture he was doing. It was a good time to start.

Painting, as DuDess puts it, is a totally free process. You can do whatever you like and never have to worry about how it is going to turn out, because you can just do it all over again… on the same canvas. Like most artistic mediums, painting is a process done in layers, so making a wrong line is never a problem. You’ll get it when the paint dries.

Painting, as DuDe learned, is a process of showing how something seems to the painter. There is no need to judge all those great painters and their strange ways, maybe you see thing the way other people don’t. Maybe you just want to show what your abstract thought has conjured. Show us what you see, and let the camera show us what we are supposed to see.

This little masterpiece was a 7 x 5”  (18 x 12 cm) experimental canvas, but in DuDe’s head it had to be perfect. Every time he or DuDess would try a new technique and it felt right, that was it. End. The final touch. He thought that even a single action could only scar this newly formed perfection. Only through the spirit of DuDess did he manage to get over his fear of destroying a painting with just one stroke of the brush. In the end it was still just as beautiful, but much more valuable, in the sense that it taught him an important painting lesson. Also, the work put into it made it even more special than it could have ever been after just a few layers.

Even now that they have some paintings behind them, they still do experiments on small canvases to try and find the best brush strokes, colors, angels, mixtures… Yes, DuDe and DuDess totally used fingers on their first painting.

DuDe

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Experiment 4
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Experiment 3
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Secret to pencil drawing

When was the first time you really held a pencil? The first time you didn’t just scribble tornados in your high school textbook or made your friend into a stick figure to post to Facebook tagged #boringclass. When did you, for the first time, find your self drawing?

For the DuDe it was 5 years ago, when he was getting ready for the university entrance exam. It was a complex exam with math, logic, spatial awareness, model making and drawing. He had confidence in everything he could learn, or was born with, but never did he imagine he had talent for drawing. So in order to learn he went to a private tutor who promised good grades on the exam. But the tutor was a genius old man who was in this for far too long and knew that DuDe was not in need of tutoring, but he was in desperate need of practice. So the tutor made him sit and draw, draw, draw…

Six months later your DuDe was holding a pencil and really drawing for the first time ever. And this is what he learned when it comes to drawing.

To draw means to understand the essence of that one thing you are drawing. Your only job is to show that essence on paper. As soon as you pick up a pencil you loose all the colors in the world so trying to make a realistic drawing should no longer be your aim. What is left is light and dark. Paper and pencil. If there is an obsession with this, there is a way to pursue it, but everything has a different soul so you cant focus on light alone. There is an infinite number of things, and things that make them what they are. You should find them. As soon as you do that you can say that you are drawing.

Now for the drawing itself. When you look for something to draw, you can draw it in many different styles, each showing its unique features in its own unique way. But the drawing is perfect only when the style used reacts to the feature that you want to present. The skill of the person holding the pencil is reflected in the way he finds that perfect balance. For a real professional this means going through many styles in order to find that one distinct line. For you it can mean trying many new styles to find your way in this duality of drawing.

So young artists, drawing style is not a way you draw but rather the way you link your pencil movements to that one essential thing that you want to show about the world you live in. Experiment. Perhaps you should look for talent in the way you think and react to what is around you and not just in drawing a perfect face of your favorite pop star. One thing is certain, it takes time. You will discover much more when you find yourself really holding a pencil.

DuDe

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A practise drawing
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Ambient drawing with elements of a story
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Drawing time
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Perspective / shape / architecture beginning