The thing about drawing…

Most people can’t draw, or at least that’s what they believe. I think the issue comes down to one simple factor: people can’t see. This may sound like a radical thing to say, but bear with me.

As Betty Edwards points out in her book Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain, our drawings as children, though quite unlike their subject matter, were perceived by us at the time as being truly representative. As children our imaginations filled in the gaps and gave our drawings a realism which seemed just fine to us. Then as we grew older we realised their absurd simplicity and strove to make them more representative, mostly with frustration and a growing conviction that we simply couldn’t draw.

What she does, by simple exercises, is to force the hand to draw what the eye sees. The exercises are designed to engage the right side of the brain, the intuitive dreamer as I call it, and to disengage the left side of the brain, the dictator as I like to think of it, which has a huge catalogue of icons and symbols which it likes to impose on the drawing. The exercises frustrate the dictator so that it gives up, leaving the intuitive dreamer to feel its way around the subject.

I find the exercise of drawing both a means to access the waking dream state, wherein time is irrelevant and the world outside of the subject and one’s response to it disappears, and a discipline requiring concentration and power of perception.

I like to draw anything; the subject is irrelevant, being merely a pattern of light and shade and relative shapes, but I confess to relishing the challenge to render a likeness of people which might also convey their essence, for want of a better word. And I prefer to draw with a fine tipped black pen; there being no possibility of erasure I find produces a more honest response to the subject. Here is a drawing (or perhaps I should say cartoon, since all of my drawings have that quality) of a visiting friend which I drew while he was talking…

Here is another friend…

And here is my husband, agog at some horrendous news bulletin…

And here is a chair, once a high chair, modified, which I like to sit in when having to speak on the landline…

And finally, here is a cartoon for a little book by an old couple who traveled around Australia. It depicts the famous fishing competition on the Barcoo River, an area almost deserted except for the enormous influx of contestants at the time of the competition. I mused what it must be like to stand shoulder to shoulder leaning on the dried bank for a chance to take out the first prize…

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1 Comment

Filed under Art

One response to “The thing about drawing…

  1. Anonymous

    Cool drawings!

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