Look But Don't Draw

I was off work yesterday and with a little free time I thought I would play an artist and take my sketch book to a scenic spot and get my drawing on. But for no good reason I was in a foul mood and went out with an emotional cloud hanging over me.

I discovered something about myself and maybe the act of drawing itself. If what I am looking at doesn't call to me to be drawn I can barely get up enough energy to lift the pen. I am sure there are professional and amateur illustrators that can simply look or imagine something and dutifully and competently and maybe even beautifully put it on paper. I am not of that sort.

I suppose it is like anything else that requires your own participation, music, working in the yard, reading a book and even sometimes watching TV, if I don't feel compelled to eagerly make the effort I just won't. For me at least the trick is to find a point of view for the task at hand that makes me really want to do it.

For instance, while in High School I was a pretty lackluster student, but 20 30 years later when I took some classes those previous boring subjects grabbed my attention. I certainly wasn't any smarter and was just a few classes but I was taking them because something intrigued me about the subjects.

Anyway, even though I might look at something and know it was the kind of thing I should want to draw, if I an not “in the mood” I end up packing it in and heading home. I also suspect it comes from my belief that for me, drawing is really “looking” and if I am not truly motivated to “look” the following parts of the process fall apart.

Sooooo...I went home, got some lunch with some wine, put some music on (Pomplamoose, thank you very much!) and quietly alternated between reading and looking out the window.

You can see what I saw and hear what I heard by looking at the video above.

Somebody once told me there was some tribal language that had a separate word for looking at a fire, as one does when sitting around a campfire. Well, I think somewhere there must be a special word for simply watching bamboo being rocked to and fro by the wind.

The bamboo was compelling but the complexity of all that was happening put me off trying to draw the view. If I can't earnestly draw I can try to earnestly look.


Skepticalwalrus said...

Sometimes its better to be than to do. What a contemplative view out your window wall!

Bob said...

Yeah man, that's a nice view. I know what you mean. If I sit down to draw, but I'm not really in the mood, it becomes a frustrating exercise rather than enjoyable.

ZeppoManx said...

I know I should make the attempt to find something interesting in each thing I try to draw, put sometimes that is just too hard.