I ran a little experiment, and those of you who have life drawing lessons will recognise it, I made three drawings of 5, 10 and 15 minutes duration. The results were predictable but also fascinating to see just what can be achieved in such a small amount of time. This feeds into something that is rattling about in my head for a while, sort of – Shannon’s Entropy. Now if I concentrate hard, it is a really long time since I had to use such calculations, then I understand the calculation of the entropy of a particular bit of information. What this has to do with art you may well ask? Well the idea of Shannon’s entropy is to identify the most important bits of information and then ensure that is transmitted and when applied to a drawing you very quickly realise that there are certain lines, colours, tones etc that define what you are trying to make. A really good example of this is Picasso’s Dove, actually virtually anything Picasso ever drew, painted could equally be used but then again that is why he is considered such a great artist.
Now this is hardly new but I just can’t get the idea out of my head. So with the three drawings above we see the entropy in action. The 5 minute drawing only concentrates on the lines that matter to define the shape, the 10 minutes has more detail and the 15 minutes is a fully formed sketch. It may not mean anything to anyone else, and it may well be that my understanding of the Entropy is incorrect, but it does mean something to me and so I look at these things all the time now.