Monday, July 20, 2015

Act of Confession




"If you can't draw well, tracing won't hurt; and if you can't draw well, tracing won't help."
Bradley Schmehl


Drawing is not my favorite thing to do.   For me, drawing has been used as a means to get lost in thinking, to go to that special place where imagination and creativity magically appear.

Drawing is also a means to an end; it provides a good foundation for a painting.

I just don't like to draw.  (Oh, and I can still remember the look of horror on Helen's face when I told her this.)  Of course, I do draw, but I struggle with it at times.

I envy those who have a passion to draw, whose drawings are accurate and have that distinctive elegant line.   Most artists have gone through miles of drawing paper and have evolved into skillful, sensitive craftsmen.   For them, a beautiful drawing is the end, the goal. 


"An artist is a sketchbook with a person attached."
Irwin Greenberg 

Blank sketchbooks.  I have more...


The point is that it doesn't matter whether or not you enjoy drawing.  You have to draw.  Your drawing skills, good or poor, will be translated into your painting whether you like it or not.   Helen, who gave me most of these sketchbooks, talked about this all the time.


"Drawing is the basis of art.  A bad painter cannot draw.  But one who draws well can always paint."
Arshile Gorky


Last night I  found my drafting pencil and started drawing on some watercolor paper.   I actually enjoyed it.

And since I dragged out all of those sketchbooks, I will get reacquainted with one.  I usually only draw on newsprint.  I never wanted to mess up the sketchbooks with bad drawings.  Helen will shake her head when she reads this.

She will shake her head because I had forgotten one of her valuable pieces of advice; that you never have to show your sketchbook to anyone.  Your drawings are just for you.


32 comments:

  1. I love seeing your creativity, Chris, and I love this post! It's funny, because I enjoy looking at, and appreciate art, but I can't do it myself. Perhaps I don't have an interest in drawing or painting, just admiring the talent of others, including yours! :) Thank you so much for sharing.

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  2. I used to draw in my sketchbooks a lot after I gained my diploma in drawing and sketching...but...sad to say I have neglected doing this for the last year. It is so good to keep doing it, I find it frees me up a little.Thanks for sharing this Chris, it will hopefully make me start again! I love your drawings:)

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  3. Chris, the first quote made me laugh. Thank you for the post. This is just what I need to read right now to get me moving. Maybe I can imagine Helen shaking her head at me, too. A great inspiration! I'm heading over to my board and paper as soon as I post this:)

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  4. These are really wonderful, Chris.
    Your strong drawing skills are always evident in your paintings - proving the quotes, and Helen to be right.

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  5. I learned the importance of drawing when I struggled to paint. Drawing trains your
    brain to see things that you would overlook, distinguishing value, and better brush strokes. If I hate my sketches, I burn them...very therapeutic.

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  6. What a pleasure to look at all these sketchbooks, Chris. You even have the wonderful Fabriano's square one!

    You have lot of future pleasures with this lot.

    Don't be afraid to use them! A sketchbook is a bit like a Journal in which you put ideas, projects and see your evolution...

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  7. Hahaha I have the same pile! I did start my career by drawing though. I am just too enthralled with color to bother now!

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  8. Chris, thank you for this excellent post and do you realise that, due to your generosity, we are also learning from Helen? Thank you! I wonder if you'd discover a passion for drawing if you were to abandon the newsprint and use one of those beautiful sketchbooks? My current faves, as you know, are the Handbook Travelogue Journal and the Stillman and Birn sketchbooks - they just make me want to draw and draw. Please try one of Helen's gift books, just for her. Thank you so much again for your generous spirit.
    Sharon

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  9. A great lesson and I have always believed a good drawing is foundational to any painting. I had always loved to draw and yet I've never conquered it. Now I can't seem to find the time to breathe, let alone anything for myself. You go, Chris! If those are your drawings, they are magnificent!

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  10. I love this! I feel the same way about drawing. For me it's just a means to an end and I take great comfort in knowing that it will be covered up at some point. This has been one of the things I feel most vulnerable about with the new way that I'm doing my blog, showing ALL the stages of my work. My drawing skills...oy...but I love what it leads me to so I'm learning to love and embrace it. Slowly.... :-)

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  11. These are beautiful drawings, Chris! They say drawing is a good practice and its something I should do more often. After looking at these, maybe I'll try it more often.

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  12. Thank you, Linda. We're all creative in different ways. Yours is my first go-to blog every morning! I love the way you put it together, and something always resonates with me.

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  13. Thanks, Karen. I knew I wouldn't be alone.

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  14. Thanks, Candy. Helen will not only shake her head at you, but she will shake her finger, too.

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  15. Thank you, Julie. I think Helen loved to draw more than she loved to paint. She is a good influence on all artists.

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  16. Oh, Susan. That's a great idea. I can burn them!! You're right - drawing really trains you to see so much. Thanks!

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  17. Thank you, Martine. I know you appreciate sketchbooks; your drawings are so wonderful! Of course, Helen gave me that Fabriano book. Maybe that's why I don't want to use it... It's too precious.

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  18. I know, Kelly. I just can't wait to jump in and paint either!

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  19. Thanks for the great advice, Sharon. You're right. My husband has that passion for drawing and I've kind of envied that. And I love looking at your drawings on your blog. You are an inspiration!

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  20. Thanks, Sherry. Those are my drawings. And it's obvious you know how to draw. I don't think I've ever talked to anyone who was always happy with their drawings. My husband keeps a small sketchbook in his shirt pocket. He challenged me to draw one small thing per day for a month several years back. That was fun - not very time consuming. I would draw my thumb, my toe, a flower - and that would be it for the day. Next day, I would start a new page in the tiny sketchbook.

    Now I think I'll shut up and take some of my own advice.

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  21. Know exactly how you feel, Kali. I took a palette knife painting workshop several years back taught by Leslie Saeta. One thing I loved about it was that there was no drawing - just slightly indicating big shapes. It was great!

    Your showing stages of paintings on your blog is really interesting to me, and even more special because you are so prolific!! It's obvious you're in love with painting!

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  22. Thank you, Hilda. You sure have beautiful drawing skills. I just love your portraits. And I hope this inspires people like us to use the sketchbook a little more often.

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  23. drawing is my bread and butter. Its what I have always loved to do and am always telling people that want to create art that they need to start with the basics. learn to draw first before you jump head first into painting/creating work. its very very important. Everyone has a different drawing style, but that doesn't matter at all, people just need to draw more and preferably from life, even tho I know that is not always possible.

    my sketchbooks are like giant dairies. full of ideas and anything I see that catches my eye. Which is probably why they end up weighing a lot from all the stuff I stick in them :p sketchbooks were made to be made messy :p

    very nice sketches here :D

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  24. Chris, I so understand and agree with your feelings about drawing. Kali puts it succinctly...for me it is also a just means to an end. And I feel as though my struggles are a dirty little secret that hold me back. Chris, thank you for sharing. Your drawings are beautiful, as are all your wonderful creations.

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  25. Dear Chris-drawing is the fun part for me- it is the painting that makes me crazy. I have some special sketch books though that I haven't opened due to not wanting to have them messed up. So true though we do not have to show them to anyone. Thanks for the reminder. Have s super day.

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  26. Hi Chris! I love your post and I feel sketching becomes more and more a natural thing to do. The more you draw, the more you need to draw, it's your innerself speaking. Hope you have a lovely summer! Hugs

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  27. Thank you, Jennifer. You are such a fine artist! It's really obvious you carry a sketchbook.

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  28. Thanks, Kristen. I think drawing holds a lot of people back. I don't do certain types of paintings for just that reason. Life drawing appeals to me, but I haven't mustered the courage yet. Using a grid method and turning photographs upside down to increase accuracy are tools I still rely on.

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  29. Glad you love drawing, Debbie. That's obvious from your beautiful work! After reading all these comments, I've promised myself to try. Thanks!

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  30. Thank you, Helen. I vaguely remember how natural sketching felt when I had a couple of years under my belt. I don't know why I stopped... Guess it was when I started taking lots of painting classes.

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  31. I was happy to learn that I am not the only artist with a pile of sketch books I don't use because I want every sketch I put in them to be perfect. Nice to know they don't have to be. I also will admit to not enjoying drawing as much as I used to; I used to draw all the time when I was younger. Now, I feel I am too impatient to get to the color to enjoy the drawing. Perhaps I should practice drawing with my colored pencils? I like the idea of a small sketchbook and doing a drawing a day. Thanks for the idea Chris. I just need to get back to art soon before I forget about it. There is too much to do in the summer.

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  32. It's nice for me to know that, too, Melanie. And I know that it's tough painting in the summer - so many projects you have to do and so many others you want to do... Looking forward to seeing your future artwork.

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