Notebook, 1993-



Mass, Amount, Bulk, Quantity . . . . The Amount of Space Occupied by a three dimensional object as measured in cubic units . . . . The Amount of Substance Occupying a particular volume . . . . Degree of loudness or the Intensity of A Sound: Loudness . . . . . Mass in art or architecture

The following are from "The Structure of Solid and Spatial Volume" in Form, Space & Vision, An Introduction to Drawing and Design. Graham Collier. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1985 pgs. 127-133]

Bulky or massive. [We classify the variety of shapes we confront into two simple and very general categories. We do this by virtue of the way their surfaces extend into space--two extreme possibilities in terms of the way material surfaces can occupy space.] Its amplitude or area spread is the dominant physical characteristic. [Mass does not necessarily connote weight or heaviness: It is more indicative of volume suggested by the expansion of surface. Such volume may comprise heavy material or it may simply contain space.] Objects whose surfaces are expansive rather than attenuated cannot be said to possess limbs. Mass objects are not made up of a series of jointed or bifurcated limbs, and consequently both their structure and the shape of their spatial context are less clearly articulated. All substantial things have mass. Objects of mass do not automatically have skeletons. Basic characteristic is the mass and space displacement, which we perceive though the expansion of the plane and curved surfaces.

It is the movement and spread of the larger surface areas which first intrude on our perception. Your sense of greater or lesser mass is dependent upon the relative expanse of surface area presented, and on the degree of continuity of surface flow.

A. Solid Volume - Mass in terms of the expansive spread of material surfaces, and the solidity and weight which necessarily accompany such amplitude. The term "volume" is generally used to denote these characteristics of mass.

B. Spatial Volume - Volume may also refer in a general sense to regions of space: to the multidimensional vastness of it. In employing the expression "spatial volume" my intention is to identify those particular regions of space which may be present in an object of mass--space which is positively shaped by surrounding surfaces and so becomes an interior volume, a hole if you like.

[For example, we perceive the pebble shown... as an object of mass pierced by three holes. In studying the holes we tend to automatically gauge their volumetric capacity--the shape and quantity of air mass contained. The presence of such spatial volumes, though they exist as a perceptual reality in their own right, also allows us to see into and through the solid volume of the material object, and thus give us direct visual information about the extent and solidarity of its mass. Space volumes that are integrally part of an object or figure may function perceptually in a complementary way, articulating the solid material to show off the extent and nature of its massive nature. At the same time they can work aesthetically as "space shapes" on their own account.]

Two ways of Comprehending Three-dimensional Amplitude:
In order to render mass, it is necessary to find a way to structure surface spread rather than to simply line in contour or edge. Thus, it is necessary to learn to shape and structure mass and volume through perception--Perception which results because our eyes primarily "read" surface rather than edge. In so doing they are assisted in comprehending three-dimensional amplitude in two ways.

1. By any linear relief or indentation formed by grooves or channels which follow surface flow--linear formations which move over the object delineating the curves and planes of the mass. As they run around and under the form, suggesting the presence of the other side, they increase our appreciation of the three-dimensional solidarity of the object.

2. By the ^variable tone values of light and shadow that move over and around the object and aid perception of mass in the same way..... for example, no lines help the eye--only the movement of light and dark tell of advancing and receding planes and curves, and thus bespeak the mass of the fragment of melted glass...

Two Techniques in Rendering an Object of Mass:
Graphic ways by which the structure of space and solid volume can be convincingly effected are:

1. Continuous Surface Directional Line. It is eminently feasible to make use of line that continuously traces the angular or curvilinear expansiveness of surface--a line that seemingly comes into view from one side and disappears out of sight to the other can shape mass. A relatively simple process of closely tracing the external planes and curved surfaces of mass, on the one hand, and of its internal space volumes, on the other.

2. Continuous Surface Directional Tone. A graphic combination of tonal values. Light and shade--light to reflect from the nearer parts, and shadow to indicate the underneath, other side, or more distant parts--also shape mass. A more complex and ambiguous process which employes light and shadow to shape the external form of mass in terms of near adn distant parts, and to create the deep or shallow cavities which comprise its spatial volumes.

These graphic techniques help artists to respond tactilely to the solidity of mass, enabling them to mentally "feel" weight and volume and so impart a greater phenomenological credibility to their drawing... As the eyes follow the visual clues of linear markings tracing the run of surface, together with highlights and shadows which follow suit, we imagine the path of these clues even when they have passed out of sight.

EXERCISES/LESSONS [pgs. 134-139]

A. Free drawing of elliptical volumes

B. Objective drawing of solid volumes

C. Supplementing line with the continuous directional surface tone

D. Practicing holes and projections - Activity: To produce a single sheet of random sketches, each one the result of experimenting with the continuous surface directional line and the appropriate tonal values. Aim: To cause solid projections to rise from the paper, and holes to shrink deeply into it. Objective: Discover where to leave highlights and where to impose shadow in order to intensify the illusion of projection and recession. Reinforce through practice that a graphic structure can be applied to the representation of mass, and that it can be effective in forming solid volumes and, when necessary, the spatial ones which may also be present. Materials: Pen, pencil & charcoal and paper.

E. Transforming the flat to solid and spatial volumes

F. Structuring solid and spatial volumes - The natural object

[Collier, Graham. Form, Space & Vision, An Introduction to Drawing and Design. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1985.

R  E  F  E  R  E  N  C  E  S 
1 Volume n [ME, fr. MF, fr. L volumen roll, scroll, fr. volvere to roll] [14c] 1a: a series of printed sheets bound typically in book form: Book b: a series of issues of a periodical c: Album 1c 2: Scroll 1a 3: the amount of space occupied by a three dimensional object as measured in cubic units [as quarts or liters]: cubic capacity -See Metric System table, Weight table 4a: [1]: Amount, also: Bulk, Mass [2]: a considerable quantity b: the amount of a substance occupying a particular volume c: mass or the representation of mass in art or architecture 5: the degree of loudness or the intensity of a sound: also: Loudness -syn. see Bulk

2 Volume vt [1815]: to send or give our in volume -vi: to roll or rise in volume

3 Volume adj [ca. 1945]: involving large quantities [offered __ discounts]

[Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th Edition. Springfield, MA, USA: Merriam-Webster, Inc. 1995.]



The contents of this site, including all images and text, are for personal, educational, non-commercial use only. The contents of this site may not be reproduced in any form without proper reference to Text, Author, Publisher, and Date of Publication [and page #s when suitable].