Thursday, October 25, 2007

making marks

I met today with the administrator of a community arts center here in Madison to discuss a proposal for a drawing class I want to offer through the center. Learn to See... Learn to Draw: A drawing class based on clear seeing. I propose that if we can learn to observe with honesty and attend to actual details of the subject of our art, we not only improve our general awareness of the natural world around us, we also increase our potential to draw the subject with accuracy. I believe that anyone of any skill level can improve drawing abilities using this model of attention to light, shadow, shape, and placement (and maybe color). Willingness is the only prerequisite.

Personally, I realize a fine appreciation and a level of connection to the world each time I practice clear seeing and drawing what I see. I think it's a sort of practice in meditation too. I find that my process of art-making resembles concepts in meditation training.

Truly, despite skill level, I think that the product of the hands and eyes working in conjunction (when practicing clear seeing and clear drawing) is each person's honest art. The hand's honest physical ability and the eye's awareness combined with one's desire to translate a visual image onto paper: these become a genuine expression. I think this is why often adults view children's work as beautiful - it is the child's honest effort at visually translating what the eye observes.

As adults, we can take a leap of faith in our own hand's ability to delineate our eyes' clear observation. We can see it as a rational modality of drawing too. To see clearly is to simplify our mind's work in drawing any subject. We don't guess the details of the subject, we don't try to uncover truths without simply looking right at them. Often, especially as adults, we use tricks of drawing and we use symbols to draw what we wish to express visually instead of just drawing what we see, or seeking the subject of our desire. We then are trapped in our mind's inability to remember details of specific lighting, angles, textures, idiosyncracies that make reality reality. How frustrating! I wouldn't want to draw like that either!

I've gone on and on... I wonder if I write these ideas clearly enough. I've been told I speak them well... I hope that bodes well for teaching a course come Winter/Spring.

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