Thursday, November 08, 2007

Modernist childhood puzzles

with a new grand daughter and a local friend's little girl around my parents they have broken out all the old toys that my brothers and I grew up with. These were three of my favorite puzzles, long after I was "too old" for them.

Perhaps these were a big influence on me and how much of a modernist perspective I have. I remember thinking that the shapes of the puzzle don't really make sense. Some of the decisions about where to make the cuts (to make the pieces) were pretty random,but less random than a jigsaw puzzle. Each piece divides space in a non logical but still sensible manner.

These were very helpful when I was learning how to draw from observation. The transition from drawing objects like a small child (for example: drawing a circle as a circle instead of in perspective) to representing observed space is difficult. The curious shapes of these puzzles taught me that the observed world, as seen through our eyes in perspective from our point of view, did not perfectly reflect a mechanical, rigid definition of how something is constructed.

This makes me realize that I am still struggling for a balance between copying what my eyes see and redefining (sometimes didactically) the nature of my subject; how they are constructed and how they move. And it can be traced back to childhood.

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