Sunday, May 25, 2008
Which came first? The drawing or the painting?
After a busy day yesterday, this image pretty much sums up what I intend to do with my Sunday.
Every teaching opportunity provides me with food for thought and the one yesterday that I gave was no different. The individuals attending were from a variety of backgrounds and skill levels. Many of them were more familiar with painting than drawing.
Its interesting to hear observations about drawing from those more used to painting. I'm of the school of thought that says to paint well you need to be able to draw well first. I was told earlier this year by a prominent painter - "You don't need to paint. You know how to draw well." From that should I infer that he meant that many of those who only paint do so because they don't have a strong background in drawing? Do they believe that painting is a shortcut? I believe that every great painter that you see will have a solid background in drawing. Without the framework of drawing, many paintings will not be seen as competent.
Many of the people attending the workshop yesterday didn't sketch or draw - they painted. The discipline of drawing and the time it takes to create a realistic image was not something that they wanted to adopt. Yes they were interested and did draw the exercises I provided and said they enjoyed the process. But I felt they wanted results - fast results. And reality. But wondered why the two weren't within grasp through dry media.
Rushing a drawing instead of building it slowly is very common in those starting out drawing realistically. Individuals try to put a 4 hour drawing into 30 minutes and then wonder why it doesn't look like the demonstration drawing. Once they know the techniques and can practice them, they need to apply them with the knowledge that the drawing will take time to produce and hard work to see results.
All art forms whether drawing or painting use similar techniques. They are simply different mediums and the mastery of those techniques takes time and practice. They are manual and observational skills learned by repetition.
Observation is another learned skill and essential to artists who want to produce realism. I as individuals to produce a drawing, all using the same reference image and the variety of interpretations of what is seen by each is quite interesting. Many simply don't examine in detail. They are looking for broader values perhaps and in so are missing highlights or variances in light patterns from their subject.
Maybe its a reflection of today's society that people want instant gratification in everything from food to service to creating art. But as with everything, you get back what you invest in terms of time and effort.
I know that I have a passion for drawing. It is something that calls to me and demands attention, so I will be more biased towards the creation of images in any dry media. I also enjoy painting too, but even in that, my foundation for a painting begins with drawing. Unless a piece is abstract - and even then there takes some planning on paper initially - I don't see how drawing can escape the painting process.