Things are usually deeper than the surface level we see at first. There is always something thicker underneath that creates dimension. There’s something to be found underneath the smile or the frown. There’s something to be learned past the cover of the book. There’s greater detail in the scene than we see at first glance. I know...that’s a little deep for an art blog right?
But if it’s true in life, it’s true in art as well! I always wondered what caused some art to look flat, and others to ‘pop off the canvas’ so to speak. What I’ve discovered over the years as I’ve explored ways to create greater realism in my drawings, is that creating layers is the key to depth.
With graphite, I start light and gradually increase from blotchy, vague shapes, to sharp contrasts that are polished over the top of my under-layers.
As I’ve learned more about colored pencil, the same remains true, except now I’m working with blending colors together to create smooth and deep layers one upon another and waiting until the last minute to create the sharp detail I’ve been patiently building the foundation for.
In this particular piece - a massive bull elk stepping from dark to light, I discovered the opposite is true as well: going from dark to light (my dark paper needed light over the top of it) creates a playground for the eyes as light and dark interplay to push the background back and the foreground forward. I love that! It’s so much fun to watch the subject pop forward.
Just like those moments I’ve been in the forest and seen the animal step into the light from the shadows, this piece can give the viewer the same feeling!
Remember, the layers in art create the depth you need to trick your eyes into seeing dimensions. In the same way, the layers we experience in life creates the depth we need to understand the beauty of life.
I think of all the things we don’t always understand in life. We can trust that the darkness we experience will push us to the arms of Jesus in trust and dependence. We step into His light and it makes the dimension of beauty something we can stand back and appreciate in awe, just like in a fine piece of art!
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Romans 8:28 NIV
“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
1 Corinthians 13:12 NIV