Drawing Upside-Down

by Cat B on February 11, 2011

picasso25In the last Saturday morning drawing class we all drew upside down on paper five feet tall. We used Picasso’s line drawing of Stravinsky. You can see it here on top. If it isn’t too sacrilegious, I’d say we may have improved on the master His was already full of ease-full, expressive distortions and we carried those further through our own ineptitude.  None of us gets it right so the distortions become fantastically pronounced. There’s sheer excitement in working on this scale too—especially when we have no idea what the result is. Thrill in the making—it makes everything so alive. It’s curious too, just how expressive and assured these are. There are so many great possibilities we discover when we work this way. There’s lots here to bring into whatever else we do. Great to spend the time just playing without concern for the end result.








{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

maggie Terris February 11, 2011 at 1:41 am


Maureen February 11, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Stravinsky has so many moods-don’t you think?

Paula Ogier February 13, 2011 at 3:30 pm

I think these drawings are wonderful. They have the feel of being intentionally stylistic even though they were the result of “ineptitude.” It sounds like a fun way to work.

Nelleke February 14, 2011 at 9:42 am

Hi Cat,
If I lived in Boston, I would love to join the saterday-morning class! Unfortunately I live far far away (Rotterdam, Holland)

I have read your book and like it very much!
Have much fun with your class!

Cat B May 5, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Thanks, Nelleke! You are so kind! And thanks, Paula, Mo and Maggie!

Jason November 22, 2011 at 8:48 pm

I did the same exercise using the same source material 24 years ago in high school art class under Maxine Warren, a fantastic teacher. I found your page whilst Googling for the Stravinsky drawing so I could do the same lesson with my kids. Small world!

Cat B November 22, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Yeah! It’s a great exercise!! I do it with Matisse and Hockney drawings too with my students. A great way to train the eye and hand. It’s always fun when we all turn them right-side up at the same time. There are usually plenty of distortions but those can give us some good ideas for pushing our drawings too! Have fun with it!

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