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June 12, 2004

The seduction of the trick

The magician has to be careful not to be taken in by their own trick.

Like drawing comic rabbits [see below], it is possible to develop a series of neat tricks which translate the three dimensional images of the world into two dimensional ones convincingly.

Looking and seeing is difficult, and the tendency is towards laziness, which, coupled with fear, means you apply the trick when it might not be appropriate.

This is particularly relevant with mouths. “A portrait is a painting with something wrong with the mouth”, said Sargent.

The mouth has the highest density of separate muscles in the body. Its subtlety is endless, the amount of expression of which it is capable is immense. The eyes are supposed to be the window to the soul and all that, but the mouth tells us what the subject is feeling.

And it is hard to draw or paint. So, you develop ways of doing it, and before you know it all your paintings have the same mouth; because you’ve been seduced by your own trick and stopped looking.

Posted by john at June 12, 2004 11:43 AM

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