Your paper is two dimensional. It might seem a little silly to try to make a four dimensional representation on a two dimensional surface. But let's think about this. We are quite happy to depict a 3D object on the 2D surface of the paper - so there should be no fundamental reason why we cannot depict a 4D scene on paper. The fourth dimension I am thinking of is that of time. When we take a photograph, it freezes a tiny slice of time and compresses it onto a two dimensional surface. This can give stunning and dramatic effects but it has limitations. An object in motion will move during this tiny time-slice, and this will cause motion blur. A good photographer can take advantage of this by either panning the object to displace the motion blur onto the background, or keep the background fixed and let the moving subject blur.
In this scene, we can see time. The young boy kisses his Mum tenderly, she responds, but his bigger brother anticipated this and reeled back in mock disgust. You can see the sequence, even though the picture is laid out in only two dimensions. The relative motion blur aids this as the older boy has moved into the light in the background which obscures part of his face.
The results of camera blur are difficult to control. However, when it is successful, the result will give you a sense of time because of the motion blur. But motion blur is not the only way to represent time on a 2D surface. As an artist, you have no technical limitations of the camera. You can choose to draw or paint things in ways that which are not possible to photograph. You can depict hidden surfaces which might suggest what is about to be revealed to a person viewing the scene. You can depict movement and anticipation. Incidentally, movement can also be an important part of an abstract piece. It's harder to describe than movement in a realistic object, but nevertheless, movement can certainly be suggested with non-realistic shape and form. You can depict history though careful composition. For example, objects which have just hit the floor will appear broken, and the expression on a person's face could combine with this to suggest what has just happened. It is very difficult to describe this 4D effect, but to know that it is 'out there' is a great advantage. The next time you go to an art viewing, ask yourself, “Why does this painting seem static, and why does that painting seem alive?” The chances are that the more lively painting has somehow integrated the fourth dimension. It could be an expression on a person's face, or the arrangement of objects in the air. It might be through the play of light and focus.
(C) Jeremy Lee 2010, all rights reserved.
Note: I am allowing the blogs in the category 'Book' to be stored for personal use only, but not for distribution or commercial use. Should you wish to reproduce any material, please contact me for negotiations.
spOOk's art is owned by Jeremy. He has practiced drawing and painting for about 40 years, and might get good at it one day. spOOk's art is focused on graphite portraits.