Friday, January 31, 2014

"Look at that. She draws!"

Yes, I can draw. I can't remember a time when I didn't draw. It took me until I was in my twenties to understand that some people didn't see the way I do. When people would ask me how I did it, I would reply, "just look at it"

Then, as I got older, artists who either didn't choose to draw or thought they couldn't, would condescendingly look at my work and say, "She draws - it looks just like the model" - as if that were a really bad thing.

I really believe that anyone who wants to draw well, can learn. I used to teach drawing - even to children. Drawing is seeing. It is hand and eye coordination. It teaches one to see space in and around an object or a person. Through drawing, negative space can be understood. When I was in my first year of art school, the classical drawing training I had, helped me to creative my first abstract still life. At 18 years old I suddenly realized what the talk about space relationships was all about.
casein on illustration board, 1953

In the first semester we learned to draw every bone in the body. The second semester it was studying the muscles of the human body; what they did and then draw them without a model for the final exam.

I still sense condemnation about my figurative paintings from some artists. A gallery director told me scornfully, that he didn't like anything figurative. He is an artist who can't draw. My answer was,"Well, I can do both - paint abstractly and non-objectively as well as figuratively"

I spent a month in Italy with a group of artists several years back and received the same scorn. Most of these artists were from New York and anything that wasn't non-objective and black was not respected.

I still practice drawing. Here are some recent sketches:

60 second sketch

Being able to draw, doesn't diminish my ability to make non-objective paintings. It only helps.