Every workshop has its own character and personality, which is part of the joy and inspiration for me. One of the things I stress in my workshops is drawing without noodling; a prior workshop dubbed this “no scritchy-scritchy”, and the most recent workshop (June 2008, a few days ago) said “no stinkin’ dinkin’”.

In that somewhat tongue-in-cheek vein, let me offer a no-noodling example that comes from another species: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=He7Ge7Sogrk&feature=related. It’s an elephant, actually doing figurative work. I’ve seen some of the abstracts that elephants have produced – this is the first time I’ve seen one produce something representational.

Leaving aside the staggering philosophical implications – which are many, profound, and worthy of deep discussion elsewhere – I want everyone to note that this boy works in a careful, deliberate manner. No noodlin’. No kiddin’. Check it out.

P.S. For a very few highlights from the June 2008 workshop, visit my Workshops web page. The handful of photos shown there represents approximately 0.001% of the 2000+ photos I shot.

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5 Responses to “No Stinkin’ Dinkin’”
  1. larry jewett says:

    not to rain on the 4th of July parade or anything, but going from this stuff to the representational piece you show seems to be a quantum leap (or maybe two).

    The site for the Elephant Art gallery says this
    “Here you will find only original paintings that are made by elephants, entirely unaided or directed by human hand and influence.”

    Assuming that the video you linked to is not faked, how is it done? I suppose it is possible that they have somehow trained this elephant to draw representational stuff “free trunk”, but there is another possibility that seems more likely to me. The elephant is following cues. For example, how can I be sure there is not a person just out of the picture directing the elephant’s head?

    don’t get me wrong. Even the latter would be amazing, just not quite as amazing as unassisted painting.

  2. Deborah Holzel says:

    Okay, Julie. I checked out the elephant. I heard you.

  3. Julie Chapman says:

    Deborah – LOL!! good girl. Not that the post was directed at anyone in particular – we go through the whole “no noodling” struggle/discussion/practice in every workshop.

    Larry – I have some skepticism as well, but there are other videos on YouTube of the same elephant (and maybe one other) doing representational drawing, and the videos are taken from different angles that appear to show the elephant doing the whole thing himself and with deliberation.

  4. larry jewett says:

    So, how do you know it’s not actually a guy/gal wearing an elephant suit, hmm?

    Perhaps one of your former workshop students trying to make an extra buck (or peanut) on the side. That elephant does seem to be using the techniques you teach, though I will vouch for the fact that its not me in the video. i still draw using the tried and true “scratch and erase” method (sorry, I’ve been doing it that way since I was about 8 years old and some habits die hard, even if they are bad ones.)

    On the other hand, if that video (and elephant) is actually for real, I wonder how much the elephant gets for the painting. Probably peanuts (quite literally).

  5. Larry Jewett says:

    Hmm, maybe I should try the “elephant” suit route.

    Those elephant abstracts are $300 and many have “sold’ signs on them so elephant painting seems to be the latest crze in the art world (what does that tell you?)

    Then again, maybe a monkey suit would be better. probably fit better at any rate — and bananas are better than peanuts while you are working.

    I can set up at the local malls…

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