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1 Freehand Drawing

eye, photograph, breadth, architect, camera and length

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FREEHAND DRAWING, 1. The Value of Freehand Drawing to an Architect. Out side of its general educational value freehand drawing is as abso. lutely essential to the trained architect as it is to the professional painter. It is obviously necessary for the representation of all except the most geometric forms •of ornament, and it is equally important in making any kind of a rapid sketch, either of a whole building or a detail, whether from nature or in the study of plans and elevations. It is perhaps not so generallfunderstood that the training it gives in seeing and recording forms accurately,-culti vates not only the feeling for relative proportions and shapes, but, also, that very important architectural faculty—the sense of the third dimension. The essential problem of roost drawing is to express length, breadth, and thickness on a surface which has only length and breadth. As the architect works out on paper, which has only. length and breadth, his designs for buildings which are to have length, breadth, and thickness, he is obliged to visual ize; to see with the mind's eye the thickness of his forms. He must always keep in mind what the actual will be. The study of freehand drawing from solid forms in teaching the representation on paper of their appearance, stimulates in the draughtsman his power of creating a mental vision of any solid. That is, drawing from solids educates that faculty by means of which an architect is able to imagine, before it is erected, the appearance of his building.

2: Definition of Drawing. A drawing is a statement of cer. tain facts or truths by means of lines and tones. It is nothing more or less than an explanation. The best drawings are those in which the statement is most direct and simple; those in which the explanation is the clearest and the least confused by the introduc. tion of irrelevant details.

A drawing never attempts to tell all the facts about the form depicted, and each person who makes 4 drawing selects not only the leading truths, but also includes those characteristics which appeal to him as an individual. The result is that no two people

make drawings of the same subject exactly:alike.

3. The Eye and the Camera. The question immediately arises: Why should we not draw all that we see; tell all that we know about our subject ? Since the photograph does represent, with the exception of color, all that we see and even more, another question is raised: What is the essential difference between a photograph of an object and a drawing of an object ? These are questions which bring its dangerously near the endless region of the philosophy of fine arts. Stated simply and broadly, art is a refuge invented by man as an escape from the innumerable and bewildering details of nature which weary the eye and mind when we attempt to grasp and comprehend them.

Without going into an explanation of the differences in struct ure between the lens of a camera and the lens of the eye, it may he accepted as a general statement that ill spite of apparent errors of distortion the photograph gives us an exact • reproduction of nature. Every minutest detail, every shadow of a shade, is pre sented as being of equal importance aild interest, and it is easy to demonstrate that the camera sees much more detail than the human eye. In any good photograph of an interior the patterns on the walls and hangings, the carving and even the grain and texture of woods are all presented with equal clearness. In order to perceive any one of those details as clearly with the eye it would be neces sary to focus the eye on that particular point, and while so focused all the other details of the room would appear blurred. The camera, on the contrary, while focused at one point sees all the others with almost equal clearness. This fact alone is enough to demonstrate the danger of assuming that the photograph is true to the facts of vision. Again, a photograph of an antique statue will exaggerate the im portance of the weather stains and disfigurements at the expense of the subtle modelling of the muscular parts which the eye would instinctively perceive first.

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