Thursday, September 29, 2016

Thinking with a Compass and Straightedge

I wouldn't say geometry was my best subject in high school, but it was certainly the most appealing!  Not the axioms and proofs but the fact that geometry required putting pencil to paper and drawing!  Imagine my astonishment (and delight) twenty-five years ago when I discovered via Pere Igor Sendler's book, "The Icon: Image of the Invisible" chapter after chapter on proportions and the underlying geometry of icons!

For iconographers probably the most useful aspects of geometry and proportions is gaining the almost miraculous ability (using only proportions and simple multiplication and division) to make a drawing larger (or smaller). And, by establishing a set of proportional relationships, based on the proportions of the panel (or wall) that serves as the support for the icon, being able to construct the figures within the icon.

Although I'm behind on the studio - mea culpa! - I've taken the first steps in designing a new work for the upcoming solo exhibit at the state museum (the first of  several icons that I hope to complete in time for that exhibition.)  The starting place is thinking through, with a compass and straightedge, the proportions and proportional relationships of a triptych icon (a central image with two hinged panels that are half the width of the main image.) 

Having laid the foundation, I'll be putting it aside to complete the icons that I have promised those who have commissioned them.  Thank you for your patient forebearance!   


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