Sunday, April 20, 2014

Learning to Draw

If you keep drawing. Keep working. You get better at it. Amazing! This is -- don't know how to put it. Like having found a secret door, there all the time but somehow couldn't see it. Not like I was without skill, but there was a level something in me believed was closed to me. "You can't do this." A voice said to me. I wasn't even clear on what it was I couldn't do--what it was I wanted to be able to do. Only that it was important, and I was running out of time. Drawing the human figure, yes... but not about anatomical perfection, definitely not about realist representational work. Now that I'm beginning... getting close, I see the other part of it. I can recognize my 'handwriting,' the signature that tells me, "I did this." This is not commercial art--not drawing class excellence. This is my work, and no one else's This exhilarating tension between getting the figuration right without erasing, what before, was the awkward, amateurish 'imperfections.' The balance ... getting that balance right, is so rewarding. A kind of magic to this process. And all the more exciting, learning these new skills so late in my life. It keeps taking me back--I could have been doing this 50 years ago. It's what a young artist learns, coming into their own. Exploration, discovery. "Without challenge, " Tennesee Williams wrote, in that wonderful little piece you find in the introduction to many of the edition of Street Car Named Desire... "without challenge, a man is a sword cutting daisies." Maybe that's the lesson.. have multiple ambitions, but save some of them up. As you master one, don't keep doing the same thing... take out a new one, one that you've put away. And have enough to serve you even in old age. I love my life!

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