I’ve decided to have a little fun. On top of the fun I’m already having, of course. Starting with the letter ‘A’, every day I will pick a subject that starts with the next letter of the alphabet; and that’s what I’ll write about. Until I run out of letters. After ‘Z’, in other words (as if you hadn’t already figured that out). Anyway. When I reach that point I’ll be challenged to come up with another idea. In the meantime, let’s see how it works out. Let’s get started …
Do you have any idea what an ‘abbozzo’ is? I didn’t. At least not until I decided to use the alphabet as inspiration, and looked up interesting words that start with the letter ‘A’. Well you heard it here first, folks. An abbozzo is a preliminary sketch. A rough drawing, or model. What a writer would consider a ‘draft’.
I may not have known what they are called, but it turns out I’m familiar with them. I’ve seen many, many exhibits, where the artist’s working drawings are included.
In a lot of cases, I actually prefer them, to the finished pieces. I like their roughness. The fact that they’re incomplete, almost primitive. Raw. Imperfect. When I look at them, I feel like I’m really getting a glimpse into the artist’s mind. And emotions. It’s more intimate, somehow.
Like we’re sharing a secret. It’s like I’m being brought in at the very beginning of something, just for a peek. I’m getting to see something that’s been transferred directly from the imagination, to the sketch pad, with no refinement. No thinking. No over thinking. No reality, yet.
It’s still in an experimental phase. An exploration. I love that the details are missing. Details are not always necessary, at least as far as I’m concerned. Take this sketch of Picasso’s, of a woman, for example. I don’t need to know exactly what her dress looked like.
The colour is unimportant. So is knowing whether or not it had a design on it, or what the fabric was. I don’t care about where she was sitting. Or even what the chair looked like. Or exactly what she looked like, for that matter. I just like her attitude, the fact that she seems quite relaxed, with a drink in her hand; and, because of the position of her other hand, it looks like she could push herself out of the chair at any minute. I like the flow, the movement.
That’s what I see. And that’s what art’s all about. We all see something different. And what I see in this sketch is enough for me.
If you’re interested, there are many famous artists whose preliminary sketches, or abbozzos, can be viewed. Rembrandt, Turner, Constable, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Sargent, Henry Moore, David Hockney and Picasso, to name a few. It’s fascinating to see how they started, how the work evolved, and where it ended up.
Michelangelo, on the other hand, ever the perfectionist, wouldn’t have wanted us to see his preliminary sketches. Or so it’s said.
To a point, I understand that, as well. I’m no Michelangelo, but I am a perfectionist. And I wouldn’t want anyone seeing my initial drafts, either. I always have to polish and perfect my work before I show it to anyone. And even at that stage I don’t necessarily think it’s perfect. Just that I’m happy enough with it, to share it. A good first draft.
I save all of my drafts. For what reason, I do not know. But this I do know, for sure. They will never be worth what a Picasso abbozzo is worth. Never. Sad. But true.
Alas (hmmm, another word that starts with ‘A’).