Friday, 12 September 2014

A Drawing a Day

Pen drawing of a feather 4.9.14

During our first summer holiday at University (a long time ago now, sigh) one of the projects we were set was to produce a drawing a day. It is an excellent discipline to get into and sounds so very achievable, surely a few moments can be found each day to produce a small sketch? Inevitably it is not as easy as it sounds and suddenly you realise it's a week since your last drawing. However, it really is a good thing to do and it is something I have come back to sporadically in the years since I graduated.

Carbon paper and knitting needles 4.9.14

As you have probably guessed one of those times is now. Whenever I re-start my drawing a day programme I always wonder why I don't always do this. I like to work in a sketchbook and flick back through and see how my drawing is improving again. Just like exercising a muscle if you don't draw regularly your ability falls, but is quickly regained once you start again.

Plants on my desk in pen 5.9.14

Magpie sketch in pen 5.9.14

Detail of magpie

I believe drawing is very important, not just for artists but for everyone, it has been described as the primary means of expression and I would whole heartedly agree with this. When you draw you don't just look, you see. You stop, take the time to observe and notice, to analyse and investigate. This is then translated and interpreted into a unique expression of how you saw something in that moment. Drawing is personal.

Stuff on my desk in pen 6.9.14

As children one of the first ways we start to understand the world around us and communicate is to use drawings, as Picasso said "All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." As language and the pressure to get it 'right' increases as we grow up our spontaneity and willingness to express ourselves through drawing falls away. I think this is a great shame as I think when we stop drawing we stop an activity that allows us to express ourselves, explore ideas and interpret the world around us. I also think that it is fun and satisfying; experimenting with different media and marks, seeing something emerge from a blank sheet of paper.

Knots in pen 7.9.14

In my work as a community artist I lose track of the number of people who say to me "but I can't draw." It really saddens me hearing this because what they mean is 'I don't have the technical skills to render an object with photographic accuracy' and I always think that's just not what drawing is about. If I want a photographically accurate picture I'll get my camera out. Drawing is about expression and personality, exploring and understanding, trying and learning. Often, it is much more about the process than the outcome.

Hands, stressful day! 8.9.14 and 9.9.14
Knotted fabric in pencil 9.9.14

Drawing is so versatile and has an immediacy unlike any other art form.I like to think of drawing in a very broad sense, as making a mark. Using this definition a drawing can be a scrape in the mud, a doodle on a serviette or an intricate pencil study and everything in between (and beyond.) Drawing can be the seed of an idea or a fully realised finished work of art, and everything in between. Anyway, enough words, time to go and draw.

Glass jar in pen 10.9.14

Sketching out some ideas 10.9.14

Twists of thread in pen 11.9.14

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