I had a dream last night. For some reason I was dreaming of Charles Freeman and his painting theory. I remembered conversations with Isabel Piczek at her studio. She always develops her paintings, which are large scale murals, with a "cartoon" as she calls it. I would call it a sketch that becomes the guide for where and how she would apply the paint. I assume that almost all artists start with an outline, cartoon or sketch. So in the case of Freeman’s theory, if all the paint has now flaked off, where is the outline? Where is the underlying sketch?
First of all, dreaming of Charles Freeman and his painting theory is not merely a dream, it’s a nightmare.
Anyway, when I first read about the shroud, I often read about how the image on the shroud had no outline. Isabel was often quoted and I found myself using the lack of an outline as an argument. Then one day, I was on Fifth Avenue along the edge of Central Park in Manhattan. There is along this famous avenue, where the sidewalk is as wide as the road, an area where local artists sell their works hanging on a fence or spread out on the pavement. Occasionally, you will find an artist painting portraits of tourists. I watched one such artist at work. He began with a smattering of seemingly random brush strokes with random colors from his palette. It was, for most of the time that he was painting, a work of pure chaos. Then the portrait emerged, slowly at first. The was the moment of I think I see the face. Then, it was, of course that is a face. Finally, after maybe ten minutes, it was as hyper realistic as Albrecht Dürer’s self portrait, ca. 1500 AD (above). Watching this artist work was like watching the Harlem Globetrotters. No one shoots baskets like that. No one paints like that, without even a hint of an outline.
But they do. Ever watch Bob Ross on TV? I’m thinking these days that some artists use outlines and some do not. That the shroud does not appear to have a surviving outline doesn’t impress me all that much any more. Link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlucWfTUo1A