Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Drawing: slowly making a come back. Hopefully!
These days drawing still suffers from the anti-tradition sentiment that has been with us for a few decades. Many art schools are only now getting back to teaching the subject... ...Another problem is that many collectors still don't see stand-alone drawing as a collectible. It's unfortunate, because drawing has its own unique delight for both the doer and the viewer. Let's face it, drawing skills have largely fallen on hard times. A few years ago it was nearly a dead art. Lots of folks still think they don't need it.
While painting can often be brought back and upgraded by a strong shot of desire, it's been my experience that drawing, not practiced, soon becomes rusty. Ordinary drawing is okay and useful, but above all it's an opportunity for "line style." Expressive, searching, definitive, linear, broken, lost and found, there's an energy in line that tone and form do not have. In drawing, artists have to determine whether the objects or ideas drawn are suitable for line--or would they be best suited for mass and area. For subjects with what I call "inner glow," such as faces and the nuances of nature, line can take second place. Think of trying to stretch a coat hanger around a cloud. But line is of value for its own sake and can carry its own meaning. Paul Klee noted that "a line is a dot that went for a walk." More creators and more collectors need to be taken on that walk. Edgar Degas noted, "Drawing is a species of writing: it reveals, better than does painting, an artist's true personality." A student who sees progress in drawing gains the greatest self-esteem. For that reason alone artists ought to be drawing like crazy. When Michelangelo died, a note for one of his assistants was found on the studio floor: "Draw, Antonio, draw. Draw and do not waste time.