Why do we draw what we do? I'm always curious about this and never feel like I know the answer completely. Obviously, something attracts our eye with a feeling of curiosity, beauty, complexity, color...usually I can identify that initial impulse. Some people want to make a record of where they were at a particular time -- and all sketches do this to some extent. But I suspect that for me there's often a deeper psychological reason: an identification with the subject or even a repulsion in some way, some sense that the subject reflects something that is going on inside.
As you're probably all too aware, I often draw my desk and the stuff that I've accumulated there, either by chance or by design. In recent years I've become interested in the way the same objects take on new or different meanings when juxtaposed with others; a number of artists have done this with still life arrangements in their work, where the same objects appear repeatedly but "feel" different depending on other choices the artist has made.
These seed pods and other little objects live in a brass bowl on the top of the desk; sometimes I take them out to look at them separately, but more often they just stay there, getting dusty. The other night when I began drawing this bowl of small objects I was feeling unsettled and tired, and like I wasn't getting anything done. I knew that drawing something would make me feel better, but I was sort of surprised to find myself choosing this subject. In retrospect, I think it was perfect, because the objects contained within the bowl, without anything else around them, seemed to represent a microcosm of life, a small world of objects in relationship to one another only because something larger has placed them in a bowl together. A sort of chaos, but a contained chaos. It was up to me to search out some way for each form to have its equal place and meaning.
Is it a good drawing? That question doesn't matter to me as much as the fact that the doing of it showed me something, and helped me over a small rough patch.