Exchange Angles

Severe architectural angles on buildings on Exchange Place

Many years ago I was in Europe sitting in the shadow of a cathedral looking straight up and attempting to draw the buttresses that were protruding from the wall.

It just wasn’t working. What I was seeing and what I was drawing didn’t make any sense. My drawing buddy told me to take my pencil, hold it at arm’s length, line it up with the angle the buttress made, and then, keeping that line, lay the pencil flat on the paper.

Try it sometime. The angle was probably 80 degrees but my brain kept flattening it out. But to draw the building correctly, I had to find and believe the extreme degree of that one line.

Something to keep in mind: train your eyes to observe what’s really there. The moment you take your eyes away, your brain takes over. When your brain takes over it begins to translate what it thinks it saw. It’s quite a task keeping it real.

I offer that story to you as you now look at this picture.

Dissect these angles. Which ones would your brain have dismissed as impossible if you were drawing or painting this scene?

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