Drawing has been around for a very long time. This is apparent on cave walls and rock faces that have preserved pigmented drawings, petroglyphs and stencils of human hands from many thousands of years ago. [I was incredibly lucky to visit the ancient caves at Pêche Merle, France. Chills!] These ancient art forms exhibit a need to draw that we have felt for 40,000 years or more.
Drawing can be planning, recording, visualizing, conceptualizing, pretending, imagining, playing. Drawing can be an idea for an invention, an exclamation of beauty or horror, and a reflection of the self. It can be doodling the brain’s pathways in idle time. I remember entertaining myself on the beach when a child: I would draw patterns in the sand, sketch contours, scrawl sand graffiti and do meditative zen garden gestures.
I have found as a mature artist that drawing is like a key. When painting isn’t clicking, turning to paper to draw will reliably unlock my mind and free it from blockage. Drawing is not a recording of the world; vision tells us of color and light, not so much of black lines. Yet the brain wants to understand the boundaries of things. When challenged with fuzziness and profusion we go to the edges for reassurance. Drawing helps to clarify, to distill vision and experience.
One of the first paintings I made contained a wagon wheel. I think I found it rustic, a nice contrast to grasses. I later continued to work on that shape in prints, paintings and drawings. I was entranced not so much by a rustic object as an image of an ellipse. A circle turned sideways. What a mystical transformation! A flat disc turned oblique, describing space. The more I looked at architectural objects, the more I loved the curvatures held taught within.
Drawings are a beautiful window into the mind. I love seeing the hand at work in manuscripts, letters with doodles, sketchbooks and yes, cave walls. In that spirit, here are a few peaks at recent drawings of mine.