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April 17, 2013


I'd be very happy if I could do anything as loose as the first drawings! The final one is great, reminds me a bit of Laura's (of Laurelines).

For so many years I've gone through drawing instruction books, summer drawing classes, and inspiration folders on my computer, and never gotten rid of the fear that my drawing skills would never improve (a conclusion I reached after maybe a week's worth of practice in each cycle). But reading your recent posts, and seeing these wonderful drawings has me determined to hold off my self-judgement for a year's time and see what fun I get out of the practice of drawing itself. Thanks for that!

Thanks, Lucy. The thing (as I keep reminding myself) is to have fun with it and not get uptight about the results. I'm going to be writing more about the Urban Sketching movement (where I met Laura) in a later post...

Sharat, I'm really glad if these posts are encouraging for you, because anyone can draw and improve and enjoy the process. The best advice is just to get a sketchbook - something nice you'll enjoy using, and that you can carry with you easily - and simply draw a little bit every day, without judging yourself, just having fun with it. I bet you'll be surprised. Good luck, and if you do it, please let me know how it's going!

I love the last drawing and it sounds like you've really found a direction you need to go in at this point.

I love the first two drawings too, though, love minimalism and perfectionism. I recently saw a small exhibition of drawings and etchings by Morandi here in London - the first time I've seen any of his work in the originals. His work is probably the ultimate example of how control and perfectionism can also go somewhere deep and the way it affects me is very emotional as well as aesthetic. So I think this is about individual artistic trajectories, not absolutes.

I also thought of Edward Said's book Late Style - a frustrating little book of edited short pieces that he left when he died too early, but a fascinating and heartening thesis about how many writers, composers and other creative artists have done different, wilder, freer work later in their careers.

Jean, I'd like to read Saad's "Late Style" - did you read it recently? As I've thought more about this, I'm realizing it's not so much the style as the intent of the drawing. I've let myself be influenced too much by the Urban Sketcher movement - which I love - but their goals are not the same as mine. Sketching as a daily practice is valuable in and of itself, too. I've seen still lives -- Morandi is one great example - where definite choices were made and a mood established, and the work goes beyond a careful representation of objects. Realism and/or minimalism aren't the stumbling block for me as much as the need to think through what I want to do with the drawings or paintings; what I want to say. I really, really appreciate your comment -- it helps me keep pondering these questions.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.