Monday, March 25, 2024

“Unique Line” Class Catch-Up

3/13/24 minimalism (photo reference)
3/13/24 maximalism (photo reference)

I’ve been so busy with 100 People, life drawing, cherry blossoms and other fun what-not that I’m two weeks behind in talking about my Gage class with Gal Cohen, Find Your Unique Line. With only one more class left, I feel like I’m just getting started with having my eyes opened to new ways of seeing, imagining and drawing.


The topic two weeks ago was minimalism vs. maximalism. As always, Gal began class by showing us numerous examples of contemporary art that could be described as either minimal or maximal. She chose interior domestic scenes as the subject. How little can be drawn and still evoke a sense of “enough”? Conversely, is a drawing that is densely packed with linework, marks and color ever “too much”? The point was not to determine whether one or the other was preferable or better but simply to ask how well a piece accomplishes its objective by taking one approach or the other. As always, we also discussed how the specific materials and techniques used helped to accomplish the artist’s intentions.

During class we used photo references of a couple of interior scenes and drew them either minimally or maximally (top of post). My natural style is to tend toward minimalism, so that exercise was easy for me. Going the max was a greater challenge; I kept thinking, “This is enough,” but then I pushed myself to keep going.

The homework was to draw either a domestic scene from life or from a photo with minimalism or maximalism in mind (below). She encouraged us to use color if the drawings called for it. I sketched a cluttered corner of my studio twice, once with each approach. The minimal approach was easy (and I chuckled about how I wished it were as easy to clear the clutter from my studio as it was to simply avoid drawing it). As expected, the maximal approach was more challenging, perhaps especially because I did it after the minimal version and was tired of doing it a second time. Still, I pushed myself to keep adding more and more stuff. I even added more clutter than was actually there!

3/17/24 minimalism (from life)

3/18/24 maximalism (from life)


Last week’s class focused on landscapes as the subject and pushing them toward abstraction with values and shapes (below). Making somewhat abstract drawings from a realistic photo reference is a serious struggle for me, so I especially welcomed this exercise. 

Using photos was hard enough, but I tried to imagine doing the same exercise from life – it’s so much harder to abstract what I “really” see! My trepidation meant that the exercise was important for me to do. Stay tuned for the results.

3/20/24 photo reference

3/20/24 photo references

3/20/24 photo reference


  1. I love how you are always pushing yourself to try something different. The minimalism and maximalism look like two different places. lol Good for you that you are stretching!

    1. Stretching is right!! Sometimes it's a big stretch!

  2. Striking difference between the minimalist and maximalist drawings - I think you did well with this exercise. While you tend minimalist (which I secretly envy), I tend toward maximalism, continuing to push to include every detail when I no doubt could get away with less. Can't seem to stop myself. ;-)


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