I finished my session on Friday feeling good about how I’d made so much effort to think about the basil visually, and to stop and see it in a different way than I normally do. I felt confident that I could do a lot to commit it to paper in the way that I’d seen it.
Then, I started drawing the plant’s pot. The relatively easy time I’d had all week drawing vertical and horizontal lines on the chair caught up with me—this has angles! They aren’t even right angles!
I struggled with composition today. My natural impulse was to center the pot, but the plant itself is so tilted to the left that it’s impossible to draw it with the pot centered. (After my experience drawing the chair this week, it’s sort of nice to have a subject that’s actually tilted.) I finally had to mark off quarters on my paper so that I could have a better sense of positioning.
I had a surprisingly similar problem with a pie I baked for a party this weekend. I intended to garnish this in the center, but there was an off-center ripple in the filling from when I’d moved it from the oven to the refrigerator. I knew it was off-center, but it was compelling as a place to put crushed Girl Scout Cookies and strawberries. I wound up correcting for it by expanding the garnished area to include the actual center of the pie. It’s interesting to me to see that there are so many circumstances in which patterns or design features make me think that I’m looking at the center of an object, but I’m really not.
It’s fascinating to me to start seeing these systematic errors in my visual thinking. It’s like taking a logic class for the first time and realizing that your closely-held opinions are based on fallacies and what the TV news lady with the pretty hair says.