What Would Leo Do When Placing His Easel

‘When you draw from Nature, stand at a distance three times the height of the object you wish to draw.’ LDV’

What Leo advocates here is to place your easel so you can see the Whole subject and the working surface at the same time.

For portraits or still-lifes, one’s easel would be relatively close for a full-length figure a distance of fifteen to twenty feet. Leo does not mention the size of the working surface. There is no mention of a one-to-one ratio, i.e., Sight-Size.

Leo’s easel would have been placed six to eight feet away.

Leo’s placement is about grasping the relationships of the whole and nothing to do with accuracy or copying surface detail. Despite voluminous drumbeating promoting photographic duplication of Nature, Master Draughtsman such as Leo never relied on surface detail.

Neither did they rely on sight-size as a barometer of accuracy. Leo and his contemparies had no concept of photographic realism because the camera would not be invented for another hundred and fifty years. Alluding to anything they said as substantiation for the realist movement is poppycock.

They observed the Nature of Things, their mechanics, and characteristics, not their outward appearance.

No Artist of note has ever painted what they saw they painted what they knew about its design.

One needs only to look at Leo’s drawings to understand he; enhanced, elaborated, exaggerated, and even distorted. Disregarding accuracy in favor of designed graphic impact.

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