Monday, November 8, 2010


I'm thinking about drawing tonight. There's something powerful and amazing about drawing. It's a simple act, nothing mysterious about it, a skill that anyone can learn. The real value in drawing is in learning how to see, how to be present.

Whenever I draw, I see the object of my attention in greater and greater detail as time stretches out. I begin with the exterior boundary line of an object, usually somewhere along the ground or horizon line of the scene. From here I begin to fill in detail. I see texture, slight curves, detail, detail. I get sucked in to this other world so quickly. I become like a horse with blinders on, the tunnel vision zoomed in so far I lose my normal awareness of the world around me. It's a process of seeing in greater and greater detail. I find myself reaching and surpassing my own sight by degrees. I draw something and then look closer, my sight penetrating further and further in. My drawing is a rough approximation at best. I am fabricating lines. I see new details. I go back, include them. These become real. I have represented the object adequately. Then I see new details, smaller, more precise details...

Some time later it has been 3 hours hunched over a paper clutching a pencil in hand. I'm hungry, my back hurts, my hand is cramping up, I've lost all sense of the passage of time, of my narrative of things I should be doing, what comes next what comes next. I don't draw very often.

Deer Skull, 2008.
3.5 hours.

I don't draw very often. I don't know why. I think of myself as someone who is good at and enjoys drawing. And yet I'm finding I have almost nothing to include in my portfolio for school. All my drawings over the years have been on scraps of paper and card board. They've been weird things like animal skulls and the sprayer in the school cafeteria dish washing sink. Nothing with depth of field or perspective. Why don't I make drawings more often?

We get busy, caught up. We're tired at the end of the day. We do what's easy. Engagement, in anything, takes effort, energy; it seems much too hard. It's a shame. I wish I drew more.

William Livingstone House, Detroit.
Maybe 4 hours in to this one.

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