From Dot to Everything

thinkingShah Ji says

You should never stop

            There is no looking back or end               

           Move, move on and keep moving on           

        Like a traveler on a train               

The train keeps on moving ahead and everything the passenger sees pass by through the windows

Every town, house, street, person he sees passing by in his window become a history the next second and new people and objects keep on replacing it

He moves in and out of his chair in the moving train        

Till he reaches the destination, nothing can stop this journey and the traveler from traveling      

Yes, It keeps on forever till you are under the ground    

You are in a state of war while you are above the ground   

Now look at you              

I only helped you see and you are digging knowledge out of you              

This is the job of guide  

Not more than that        

When I was in art class, the artist guided me how to develop the artist’s sight    


It was not what he could see; I could see too      

It was only that he guided me how to see           

He taught me about angles and shapes and forms           

Everything you see around you is composed of few basic shapes             

Basic shapes are square, triangle, and circle

The truth of design is    

Everything starts from a small dot           

From dot, you make a line          

From the line, you make a shape             

From the shape, you make a form          

And in that form, you add values             

Light and shadow            

When the sharp light is drawn at the form or object there are no edges visible  

Where the light cannot touch the darkest part or pass through there also are no edges visible

Only with the blend of light and shadow, we can see edges of every object        

And this creates an illusion in our mind

These are signals eyes see and send to our brain      

Eyes do not understand what they see

It is mind that makes or breaks an image              

It is mind that is easily deceived by the deception, light and shade

You create an illusion

And call it art     

Now what I create is what my mind interprets in its own language           

This is why you see so many art pieces of same object in so many variations    

Every student is watching the same object but there place of seating changes the perspective

Somebody can see all 4 legs of the chair if that is meant as a model         

Another one could see the back of the chair and legs     

Another student can see 3 legs of the chair        

Does it mean the chair changes form for everyone?       

It means the angle of their vision, their place, the light and shade in that place       

All these factors are contributing to create an illusion in mind of every person              

And all of them come up with their own version               

And then their choice of colors is different          

The pressure on pencil can darken or lighten the shading effect

Some apply a lot of pressure and their paintings are dark and loud          

Some apply little pressure and their sketch is lightly shaded        

Some use different technique  

Some use pens and some use felt tip, pastels, chalk, brushes  

Then the colors also define the personality         

Choosing dark, light and subtle, sad and happy colors are all about you and how you feel             

If the person is sad, he would choose dark and gloomy colors    

Dark colors are associated with sadness               

How did we start associating dark with sadness

Dark and gloomy

Light is to happiness      

Darkness is to sadness  

We can see every day when sun sets in the west the last rays of light go wrapped with it in its arms

Then the brightness and alertness turns to dull and old

Darkness hides, covers, leaves a person blind    

Every object becomes unclear due to absence of light   

None of the objects have moved an inch             

Only the short amount of light has disguised those objects         

They are hidden from your sight              

But still they are there  

Never moved   

And then in dark room you may stumble upon  

Some object and you can hurt yourself. It is fear of getting hurt that makes you scared

When you are scared, you become sad and of course, you cannot be happy       

At that time, you associate darkness with sadness          

The whole night or almost 12 hours, you stay like this              

Till the dawn comes and you see the sun rising and allowing its rays to fall upon the earth            

The rays touch every object and make it shine for our eyes to be able to pick the edges               

Still the darkness has not left entirely    

Only with the help of dark, you can trace the edges of objects in bright day light

Shadows, yes   

So the shadows are your guide

They tell you about the real object         

They can help you understand the volume and the size, the depth

And for every person    

Length, breadth and width in light and dark settings is different from other

Then comes next phase when you have established light and shadows

Now how to create a perfect illusion to depict the real  

How to make wood look like wood         

How to bring out truth of material on paper       

Or on a blank canvas      

How to give 2 dimensional form its 3rd dimension           

You had added length and width to make a shape of square to become a form of cube

You got to add the depth            

You get length

You have width

You need depth or breadth        

That is third dimension

An artist has only been able to capture 3 dimensions on paper so far      

Then came 3D multimedia          

Digital era           

Now we can move objects to see the fourth and more dimensions of a 3D object        

To create a form we got to create a 2D object   

Then to get the shape we need to make it 3 dimensional             

And then to make it an image we need to add light and shadows             

And to make it interesting and lively we add colors         

We are copying nature

All the time        

This is why we say Allah is the biggest and the only artist              

Rest is copiers  


A small glimpse of Allah’s magnificence and glories and art is in the creatures     

We believe the great master can capture the reality and truth of object

And the better he is the more we appreciate    

And consider highly skilled and talented               

Now how to add truth of material           

How to show the cube or box you made is made of stone, wood, metal, glass, plastic

Can you imagine how much I have thought on it all this time?         

What you read above   

What do you think?       

I have studied?

Allah taught me               

I am not an artist             

I have painted some glimpses of future as I was made to paint those             

Otherwise, I could never paint or draw anything              

By adding texture we can bring out the truth of material              

It is such a beautiful feeling when I used to create something    

Then I discovered another amazing thing that when you create objects with clay it becomes an even more rewarding an experience        

Do you know how we make sculptures

First of all we bring the clay and dump it in a place or a big tub, and then we pour in a lot of water in it. When the water is all soaked in clay and it becomes like a lump we take it out and put it on wooden top or a flat surface. Then we do the kneading.

With both hands. We beat it with hands like chopping. In this process small lumps break down and bubbles of air escape. Small stones and pebbles are felt and we take them out one by one. It hurts your hand and your hand can bleed.

After clearing the mud from all impurities we do the kneading process again. Then, it is shaped into a ball and a wet cloth is wrapped all around it so it does not dry and left aside. After some time we start making objects.

So how do we start?

There are few methods. Like we take some clay from the lump and then roll it into small balls.

We keep on rolling balls between our thumb and index finger till it loses all of its edges and becomes perfect round

Its size is not more than a pea   

Once the small ball is ready we place it on our table top and then press it slightly at one end before lifting your finger       

Smaller the size of the balls is the stronger the sculpture will be

A little pressure is applied before we lift the finger and so the balls stick together and air bubbles escape and it is like sort of deforming the balls        

Making them flat at one of the edges    

Then the basic form made like a circle, square or a triangle, rectangle     

After making this form we draw our design on it with a tool

Then we use different shape tools

To bring out the shape of our object      

This is the medium we see all dimensions and we can walk all around our creation           

We can feel it while making it    

So how do we bring the shape or make objects

First we need to see the object

Observe it and then sketch it from all angles      

Once the sketch is done we give all light, shade and texture on paper to bring out the truth of material

Later we use the same method with clay and tools

Make a shape then use the tools and then add the texture        

And then if your sculpture is not good the teacher will dump it in the tub             


And I saw students crying           

Because they were attached to the sculpture    

They felt same pain like parents feel      

For their offspring

Then when your clay model is accepted you need to cast and mold it to keep it         

Everything had to be composed of shapes          

Now the cast and molding is another painful method     

And then we will prepare the cast and molds     

The breaking or opening of molds was another difficult process

Now you know how much effort it took to make it          

Can you associate this with man and his existence?        

Can you see how man is made and then shapes and then loses shape and then becomes a product?            

I made only one clay object and mold and finally a sculpture in my entire life      

It taught me so much    

I never required more  

I remember all those feelings…the wet clay, those molding and casting days, those moments when I had my last sculpture               

At every step I never wanted to move further  

I loved that form             

But then I had to cast it

And destroy with my own hands             

Because something bigger awaited        

And then after so much effort came the final product   

Which needed so much buffing and we used sand paper

Same is the story of man

Same is the story of dot

And so on…       



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