No, this is not a work of abstract art by Frank Godwin . . .

This is not a work of abstract art by Frank Godwin.  It is, however, a cropped and enlarged version of a Godwin work.  Additionally, it is not oriented in the normal “up and down” fashion.  (It is an image of a tiny portion of the original art of a Rusty Riley daily comic strip.)

I am posting this to try to make a point.

Often, when Godwin drew an outstanding drawing, he placed his lines in places that, when taken as a whole, from normal viewing distances, they would take on the appearance of an outstanding drawing.

But sometimes separate parts of the drawings, viewed close-up, did not really “make sense” — just as, if you look at a tiny portion of a half-tone, close up, it often will not look like anything.  But if you view the whole picture from an appropriate distance, it might be a life-like image.

It was all part of a process that, by the time Rusty Riley appeared, was second-nature to Godwin.  And the process was intimately connected with his knowing which brush to use, or which nib to use, or whether a line should be light or dark, or wide or thin, or whether he should use hatching or cross-hatching — or whether he should leave an area blank, or paint it in white, or scrape away ink that had already been applied.

Here is the image:


I hope to address this further in a future post, wherein the little mystery of the foregoing image will be explained.  (If you look at it enough, you can probably figure out for yourself what it portrays.)

—Tom Sawyer

February 26, 2014

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