The lesson: conclusion

Building on what has been learnt

Having got a feeling for using the “feel-system“, from Chapter 4 , (“The sketch and the feel system“) and experienced the challenge of making use of it when making drawings from observation in Chapter 10, (“The drawing lesson: action“) this ‘Post‘ provides a link to Chapter 11, (“The drawing lesson: conclusion“). Its role is to offer suggestions as to how to follow up and build upon what has been learnt already. In particular, an exercise is suggested that demonstrates the efficacy of the method, both for training the memory and for improving information pick-up speed without losing accuracy. With sufficient practise, these chapters on the “feel system” and its application in the drawing lesson, will enable artists to:

  • Use literal accuracy as a tool for deepening awareness of appearances,
  • Harmonise line-production with ongoing feelings.
  • Extend the meaning of “accuracy” to include any ‘exaggeration‘, ‘distortion‘ or any synthesis that reflects the “reality” of current personal experience.




Images and quotations

Expreesion of deep feeling
Albrecht Dûrer: Tenderness exemplified in his portrait of the artist’s Mother. As he wrote, “Love and delight are better teachers than compulsion”.


the power of disciplined free expressioon
Auguste Rodin : The many inaccuracies show how a deep knowledge of anatomy can energise a freedom of mark-making. In praise of the rigorous approach of his teacher, Horace Lecoq de Boisbaudran, he wrote: “what luck we had in falling in with such a teacher. Most of what he taught me is assuredly in me still”.


Hidden perfection
Edgar Degas : A rough looking study, but with everything in its right place. As the artist himself said, “It is all very well to copy what you see; it is much better to draw what you only see in memory. There is a transformation during which the imagination works in conjunction with the memory. You only put down what made an impression on you, that is to say the essential. Then your memory and your invention are freed from the dominating influence of nature. That is why pictures made by a man with a trained memory, who knows thoroughly both the masters and his own craft, are almost always remarkable works.” One of the best statements I know of the philosophy behind the method of Horace Lecoq de Boisbaudran.


The power of exaggeration
Vincent Van Gogh: “I needn’t rush – that’s no good – but I must work on in complete calmness and serenity, as regularly and with as much concentration as possible, as concisely and as pointedly as possible.” He also said, “I would like to be able to draw more freely and with more exaggeration”.


A lesson in the power of distortion
Toulouse-Lautrec: On meeting someone with a face that interested him, said: “Monsieur, it would be doing a great favour to me if you would come to my house and pose for a portrait. It will probably not look like you, but that is of no importance.”


The primacy of feeling
Pierre Bonnard: “You can take any liberty with line, with form, with proportions, with colours, in order that the feeling is intelligible” and “Impulse, which supersedes science is sometimes superior to science, which, in its turn, supersedes the impulse” and “You have to be patient, know how to wait. The emotion will surge up in its own time”.


A lesson in reductionism
Henri Matisse: Self portrait: “Underneath this succession of moments which constitutes the superficial existence of beings, and which is continually modifying and transforming them; one can search for a truer, more essential character” and “The effort to see without distortion takes something like courage and this courage is essential to the artist, who has to look at everything as though he saw it for the first time; he has to look at life as he did when he was a child and, if he loses that faculty, he cannot express himself in an original, that is to say, a personal way” .


a life lesson for all
Self portrait and a quotation from my book: “Fresh Perspectives on Creativity “: All we can do is get on with being ourselves, knowing full well that our weaknesses can be our strengths and that, even our strengths are no great disadvantage, if we don’t get too uppity about them.



Below are links to other chapters from my book, “Drawing on both sides of the Brain“, and to related material




The chapters so far loaded:


The chapters so far loaded:



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