# Elementary orders part II

In the last episode I talked about elementary orders. They’re very important for the organization of the drawing or the picture and come with many possibilities to build on it further, because it refines the sensibility for the development of the picture. Where do the elements accumulate and what order results from that? If you think through and practice this exercise of order carefully, you will become more confident in the layout and distribution of the elements in the picture.

In nature we can find those orders, too. From every form of nature geometric shapes can be derived, in different ways. In the previous exercise, you’ve already practiced the basic geometric shapes and how they can be distributed in a picture. Now you can deepen this and connect it with shapes of nature.

Go into nature and find a leaf, which you then draw. It can be a dandelion leaf, a nettle leaf, a young beech leaf, a buttercup leaf, sage, lemon balm, whatever you find in the meadow, along a path or in the forest. Study this leaf very carefully with your drawing pencil. Draw the contour very sensitively, with a very vibrating line. Observe the inner veins carefully and draw them. The central line of the leaf is a fine double line that tapers outward and widens a bit toward the stem.

Treat the other inner lines in the same way. They’re set very narrowly, very delicately and parallel. This gives the leaf a body. In deciding where your leaf sits on your drawing sheet, you’ve already created an elementary order. Let’s assume your leaf sits in the middle of your drawing sheet, then you’ve chosen the circular order.

You can draw the leaf, or you can press it and collage it. Then, try to find out which geometric orders can be derived from the vital shape of the leaf. Maybe you find with a compass a spot in your drawn or pasted leaf, set the compass to the tip of the leaf and draw a circle so that the whole leaf with the stem is encompassed in the circle. This is one way.

You can draw out the veins from your leaf with a ruler and see what geometric shapes can be derived from these very straight, extended vein-lines. Are there rectangles, are there triangles, are there squares? Are there maybe even pentagons, hexagons? All this can come to be. You can also enclose this leaf in a square and draw the lines of the veins just to the boundaries of the square, so it’s bound within the square. Or can draw the lines out further and see what intersections there are with the compass, drawing arcs from one line to the others.

What shape is formed when you draw an arc with the compass from each extension of the line? How do these circles intersect? What derivation of geometric shapes form in this interaction? An ornament arises. This is how the ornaments came to be, purely from observing the nature. Try the possibility that it contains a spiral, a cone, a pyramid. Experiment with all the geometric shapes you have in mind. What possibilities dwell in this miracle of nature of a leaf?

Another exercise with these elemental orders would be to make an enlargement. This can be the same leaf as for the first exercise, but it’s easier if you use a photo taken in nature, where you can zoom in, that is, enlarge it. With the elementary orders in mind, you can draw playful enlargements as in the first exercise on the elementary orders, with the same number of small squares.

You can take vital lines from whatever you’re enlarging and play with them. You can take different angles and see what possibilities come to you. This works especially well if you shoot a tree or landscape and pick only a small section. You’re taking a realistic situation, but enlarged in such a way that it’s no longer recognizable where it’s coming from, just that it’s coming from nature.

To sum up: The first exercise is a nature study of a leaf from which you derive a geometry. You have several leaves and different geometries. You can draw one leaf several times, but always only one leaf on one drawing sheet. Either you copy your leaf or glue several or draw different leaves, as you like. From each leaf you derive a different geometry. The second exercise is to zoom in. An element from nature that you enlarge so that you no longer recognize the original thing.

This exercise goes into absolute abstraction, where you play with the elementary orders and the enlargements open up new perspectives for you.

I wish you a lot of inspiration and joy and the ease that comes with trying things out and of course many, many exciting discoveries!