Practice of blind contour drawing

Blind contour is drawing from observation in which the artist directs his sight to the contour of his subject (still life, figure, etc) and does not look at the paper, that is, at his own drawing, until the drawing is finished.

The eye follows closely, deliberately, slowly, the contour of the object, while the hand traces at the same pace, and without interruption (without lifting the point of the pencil from the paper), the contour lines. Sight and touch communicate closely and imaginatively: the movement of the hand creates lines on the paper surface "as if touching the actual object" (Nicolaides). The very notion of contour, observed Nicolaides (The Natural Way to Draw), as distinct from the limited two-dimensional space of the outline, implies the sense of “turning around” the edges of forms, building a sense of three-dimensional form, we can say, through the plasticity of the line.

The result is more often a drawing where the "standard" descriptive dimension will be lacking, parts don´t seem to fit each other "as they should" or as expected in normal drawings from observation. And yet, the resulting work incorporates a renewed experience of form and vision (the experience of looking intensely at the object, discovering new aspects, seeing it as if for the first time!) as dynamic processes and a new sensitivity of the drawn lines.

The activity precludes the projection on paper of stereotyped formal schemes and the use of stereotyped marks and lines, and stresses the discovery of actual forms and structures against the mere projection of what we know, of previous and incomplete, sensorially impoverished conceptual schemes on the activity of seeing and creating forms.

Blind drawing separates process and result, as much as possible, and forces the artist to recognize his/her automatisms, unconscious or semi-conscious conceptual and valorative points of view and a priori judgements that many times preclude fresh visions and fresh results.