Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Infinite observation

Drawing is a necessary evil in the process of art making. This is usually my initial response to the question of what is drawing?

I have this view mostly because the technical aspects of art sometimes annoy me. I'd hate to say that I'm lazy when it comes to creating art, but that might be the case. I strongly think that measuring and getting every shadow, every line, every angle correct about a still life is monotonous and agonizingly boring. I find beauty in the imperfections that plague most works from the twentieth century. Realism has never made all that much sense to me in the sense that it has a lot to say about something. If I want to look at a basket of fruit, I won't look at a canvas with fruit painted on it, I will look at a basket of ripe, juicy, REAL apples, pears, bananas, etc. Understand that this doesn't necessarily mean that there is no merit what-so-ever in creating art that is a very accurate depiction of reality. I guess part of my problem is that there is no way that you can create a perfect depiction of reality, by any means. Reality is completely arbitrary. I guess this is where I compare drawing, and the process of art making to other subjects, such as philosophy.

Drawing certainly does have value in the sense that it helps to give art an aspect of reality and the replication there-of. I believe that constantly looking at your subject matter is important in discovering all there is to know about the subject both in art in the other applications of one's life. Where artistic expression matters the most is when one observes reality and interprets it in their own way and discovering things only they can understand. This concept should translate into every aspect of learning and understanding the world.


  1. You said it just right. That's why I like gesture drawing over contour for example. With contour I feel like every change is line on a face and every wrinkle on the skin has to be just right in its shape and placement, its too perfect. I'd much rather 'feel around' the object like the apples, in a brief quick flowing motion admiring the overall lovely rich red apple, not searching for the imperfections of line where there's a bruise or a bump. Cool!
    *Don't forget to add your name in the subject box below your text. Since you have already submitted it, you can click the pencil beside the post to go back to the editing screen and change it.

  2. Something to looking hard and practicing observation based drawing may carry one through to a place of idiosyncracy in work. I see this a lot in still life paintings of people like Manet, Cezanne and Bonnard...and in the drawings/paintings of Giacometti for that matter. All these artists looked so hard and so long and drew and painted so much that they "saw" deeper than most--to the point of being able to invent with conviction and clarity.

    Patience is important--and being wary of creating style as opposed to letting style evolve or appear through/over the course of drawing/working is key.

  3. very thoughtful--keep asking questions and maybe try to apply them even more concretely to what we are doing/what you are drawing in class.