Friday, April 25, 2014

Drawing In

This is a self portrait I drew back in 1978, when I lived on Maui and took art classes there.  I always find myself saying, "I can't draw," but obviously I can, when I put my mind to it.  In fact, I really like my drawing style.  So why have I always shied away from it, made derogatory comments about my ability?  Laziness is probably the best short answer.

Although I've drawn occasionally over the years, the practice has always been something that makes me extremely anxious.  I know this goes back to my first drawing classes, in college, where we were graded.  Grading art has probably killed more budding artists than anything else has.  I remember one drawing I had to do, a life-size drawing of myself with the head of an insect.  Holy cow!  And then there was my graphic arts instructor, who gave us a "commercial art" assignment of drawing something that represented the phrase, "Is this not a packaging problem?"  I drew a magnificent rendering of a banana peel.  The guy didn't get it.  Banana peel, definitely a packaging problem.  Low grade for me.  Oh well.

I just got Deborah Putnoi's The Drawing Mind.  I spent most of yesterday drawing...just putting different marks on pages, which is what drawing is, essentially.  Already I feel some ease coming into the practice.  I want to recover my ability to draw with joy and pleasure, if I ever had that to begin with.  I'm working a lot with my non-dominant hand (my left).  Actually, I feel more comfortable using my left hand, and I discovered that's because I have no expectations for what that hand can or should do.  So I'm naturally delighted with what it produces. 

This morning is my first foray into cyberland since Wednesday afternoon.  I can't even describe how wonderful it is to not be tied to my computer for 24 hours or longer.  There's this amazing sense of freedom and spaciousness... 

16 comments:

Lynn Bishop said...

What a wonderful post! I can relate to so much of what you wrote. My college drawing class destroyed my love of drawing! And just like you said, I can draw when I put my mind to it, but I think I don't because I'm lazy. Or too critical. Thanks for the suggestions/inspirations to pick it up again.

Charlton Stitcher said...

I so agree with your description of drawing as putting different marks on paper! It's a definition that so neatly reduces the pressure of the task ... so often the killer of inspiration, I think.
Do you know 'Expressive Drawing' by Steven Aimone or 'Drawing Projects' by Mick Maslen and Jack Southern. I imagine you know the former. The latter pair are British artists and both books are full of helpful advice and great ideas about putting marks on paper. I've blogged about both in the past and they're firm favourites of mine when I'm in the drawing mood.

marilyn stephens said...

Hi Connie, great blog post......I can so relate to this.
I also have believed for most of my life that I cannot draw, but you are so right about marks on paper etc. glad to hear you are enjoying your new found freedom......I will look forward to your blog posts xx

The Idaho Beauty said...

I've been blogging about drawing too! It's such a valuable thing to do, particularly if you aren't concentrating on producing a masterpiece. Interesting observation you made about drawing with your non-dominant hand.

Susan Christensen said...

I am cheering the Drawing You on, Connie! Drawing with your non-dom hand is a great idea for taking the pressure off.
Happy week end - sus

Irene said...

Have you also tried drawing upside down? That is also supposed to help because it helps you look at the details without being distracted by the larger picture. Lots of fun with it anyway. I hope you learn to appreciate what you produce.

Judy Rys said...

Looks like a FUN book with great exercises to help you loosen up. I just added it to my cart.

Judy Sall Fiber Art said...

You said so much here! Funny, I learned that I could draw by drawing portraits of the Beatles from photos! But I am a lazy drawer... enjoyed painting reality more, but even that has become too much effort! Enjoy this re-entry into drawing, and freedom from technology!

john said...

Too bad that teacher didn't ask you to tell him about your banana piece. I love the creativity in what you did with his prompt. I love your style, too. I get it about the laziness....me, too.

Jeannie said...

I love the banana peel story. Whenever someone told me that everyone can draw, I thought back to my Gram saying "you are good with needle and thread. Terri (my cousin) is an artist". Now, she didn't mean it the way it reads, or the way I internalized it, but it happened. I really wish she was here today so I could show her that 50 some years later, I have proven those words wrong. Your observations about drawing hits home. I chew my pencils, my lips, and agonize over each line. When I am disciplined and practice, it is easier, but developing that habit is tough. Thanks for the heads up on the book. I feel the need for some retail therapy. LOL! Have a wonderful week! (I've missed you.)

Leslie said...

Geez, I'd be thrilled to draw that well! I'm very poor at it and find it so depressing when I try that I decided to avoid it entirely and concentrate on things I'm more satisfied with. Good on you to start up again, it's a great skill to have.

Dori Singh said...

Such an awesome post, Connie! On a recent trip to my home, I was re-visited by a memory of an attempt at self-portrait. Since it didn't look "real", I was kind of embarrassed and never admitted it was supposed to be me! When I moved, I left it behind. I don't know where it ended up. I was flooded with a sense of compassion...for the drawing and myself. What a gift, to recognize we all have our own unique style and we CAN draw! Your post is spot on! Thank you.

MegWeaves said...

I keep thinking about this one. I enjoy my drawing class but I don't draw on my own, except perhaps half a dozen times a year. I love the irresponsibility of the class - I go, I draw, I come home - and the now-ness, which I find hard to locate in other parts of my life. So it must be something other than the product, the drawings, I look for in class. And yet, when I look back on off-and-on six years of endeavors, there are a few I like looking at, and may of my favorites don't look like something I "made".

Corrine at sparkledaysstudio.com said...

I agree totally with your art school kills budding artists....I am drawing more than ever and using my own scribbly ways and not caring a fig about how it is perceived, art heals after all and that's what I do for me...glad you are enjoying your non computer time. xox

Maggi said...

I really like your drawing. You should definitely have got a high grade for your original response to the packaging assignment.

Caterina Giglio said...

Hi Connie, thanks for stopping by the Sweet Life, so nice to have you visit and comment... love your blog and your work and I can really relate to your Two to Tango post! love it and agree! I will be back... grazie!