Sometime around 1965 I took an undergraduate course entitled “Introduction to Modern Art” (I know that surprises those who are familiar with my subsequent career in computer science). The paper I had to write as part of the studies was on Spanish artist Joan Miro. I got the clever idea to produce a really catchy title page by including a representation of one of the amoeba like shapes Miro included in some of his works. In making that representation I did not make a solid outline, but instead scrunched up the shape something like a kidney bean getting ready to spit out a watermelon seed. My instructor graded my paper as perfect, but nicked me a half a grade over the tiny, nearly microscopic, gap in the shape’s outline.
I have spent 52 years thinking I had been “wronged” – that the error was so minor as to not detract from the intent, cleverness, or content. As I experiment with various watercolor techniques to render my first true painting – the Spanish mission noted in my previous post – I decided to try color wash over an ink outline drawing. When I finished the drawing I could not help but notice the places where I got “sloppy” with the pen and did not complete the lines correctly. I decided I need to re draw the item, and that my old art instructor was right after all — in a drawing little details mean a lot.