April 21st, 2006
I started teaching a drawing class last night. I brought in several favourite books with different drawing styles. I wanted to bring all my books at once but my bike was buckling with the weight. So I had to select just a few. Five a week from now on.
As I was showing them I found it hard to contain my excitment at each artists various processes, methods, use of line. The more I spoke the more excited I became to sit down and do some drawings myself. It just reminded me how much I am doing exactly the thing that I am meant to do. I could look at ink lines forever it seems. Nothing moves me more that a pen line with a watercolor wash. As I turned the pages showing the simplest of drawings I asked, ‘have you ever seen anything so wonderful?’ Good drawings come from the inside, reflecting the artist’s state of mind or sense of being. It has nothing to do with technical ability or amount of detail. A simple line can evoke emotion.
among my favourites:
a red sun lithograph by miro, in “drawing the sun” by Bruno Munari
peach blossoms done in pen with a light wash from a beautiful new book, “A Year in Japan” by Kate T. Williamson
the quick pen scratches of Maira Kalman, excerpted in “drawing from life” by Jennifer New
a crunchy loaf of bread done in pen, from “the creative license” by Danny Gregory
Sometimes when I teach there is so much I want to say, it all comes out in a passionate arm waving flurry. And yet when it was time to become quiet, when we sat down to do some drawing of our own I was met with the jarring absence of noise. Just peaceful silence with the sound of a pen scratching. and I realized how beautiful that absence was too. There is also a lot to be learned from the quiet.
it is the best form of meditation, sitting with a pen and an eye bent on paying attention.
“to pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” ~mary oliver