Friday, January 28, 2011

Drawing is the Foundation

I've just realized that every winter, generally sometime in January, I start doing drawings based on photos I've taken. I think that this is because I feel a need to exercise my drawing skills. They're really not getting exercised much in field sketches because I'm just not getting out much or if I do it's too cold to sketch.

This year I'm sure the desire to do accurate, careful drawings is also related to the simplifiication that I use in my linocuts. So I feel like I get back in balance my sketching.

The watercolor at top is based on some photos I took of Kildeer at Morris Arboretum late this summer or early fall. I did three detailed pencil sketches then added watercolor. At one time this method only inhibited me. I was far too cautious about not getting outside the drawn lines with watercolor. Now I realize that the lines are just a guideline. I notice them but try not to be limited by them.

It's a truism of art that drawing is the foundation of everything else. Well every once in awhile a truism is actually true, at least for me. And I'd have to say that at least 90% of my favorite artists, wildlife or otherwise, are skilled draftsmen. There's just something so satisfying about changing a three-dimensional object into a believable two-dimensional representation. Even during the many years that I was an abstract artist I loved drawing, especially from life.

In some ways I suppose it's like music. At least for many people there's an innate impulse to draw, just as there is one to sing and make music.

In any case that impulse to draw is I think what got me to create this newest watercolor, 11x14 inches on Strathmore 140# watercolor paper.

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