28 Jul 2005

On Drawing, On.

When I was young, I drew all the time, and there were no rules. I drew big, I drew small.

Between 1986 and 1991 (a lifetime ago) I spent time enrolled in art and design classes, eventually graduating with an "art degree." I was 'taught' a lot of rules in that time period, and some of them are good, others just make me squint my eyes and wrinkle my nose the way I might when I walk past a stinky garbage bin.

Then I got married, moved, and started working in a bank. Then came the kiddos, and everything that comes along and consumes a working married mother. Drawing and painting was that thing I 'didn't make time for.' Not because I didn't want to, because I did. When I opened a sketchbook, or set up a canvas, or laid out a large thick cold-press watercolor paper and poured water in an empty jelly jar, and opened a tin box of watercolor half-pans, closing my eyes as the scent of the colors brightened the air.... all that seemed like such a tease. Often the process of drawing and painting became meditative. It caused me to zone out.

The act of sketching - the process of looking and seeing and noticing details and putting this on paper - requires some amount of detachment. Focusing, on one thing. Not impossible to do, but an extremely rare event. Ideas were always streaming in, then sadly disappeared like a loved one, waving as he becomes smaller and smaller on a departing train.

It is still a kind of luxury for me to really indulge in drawing and sketching. The purpose is not to be really good or make stuff that could sell, or always tell a story. I draw because - I like to. When I am drawing or painting, a sensation of well-being comes over me. Freedom of thought. Freedom from rules. Freedom from judgment. NO 'have-to's.' No expectations.

As I mature (haha!) I realize that all things I care about and love must be nurtured, watered. Sometimes, when things seem a little wimpy, I like to add some (organic) fertilizer. Discipline is the fertilizer of art.

Drawing is the precision of thought.
-Henri Matisse


Julie said...

Oh, I can so identify with you. Three kids of my own, I know how rare those moments of artistic freedom are. You are so right though. It has to be a discipline. Since I started journaling/drawing every day (or at least trying to) I have realized that just spending a few minutes each day drawing and journaling does wonders for my well being. I have a lot of unfinished stuff too, maybe we'll get to it when the kids are older. I keep telling myself that anyway.

Cin said...

I agree, I love to lose myself in drawing, and as long as that inner critic is silent, it is a wonderful time to just observe and enjoy. As you say, drawing just because we like to, like we did as kids.