A tiny part of why I take ‘arty’ photographs is that I can’t do any other kind of art. I have always wanted to be able to draw like my sisters (e.g. Ellie), but was convinced that I absolutely could not.
Any attempts to draw led to complete rubbish – worse than your average 5 year-old’s efforts.
Then I came across a blog where the author claimed he had taught himself to draw as a bet, despite similar artistic inabilities. So I thought I’d have a go.
In the comments on his blog he recommends a book called ‘Drawing on the right side of the brain‘.
I don’t entirely know if the left-side/right-side theory that the book leans on is still 100% valid, but the techniques the book ‘draws’ on certainly are. After less than one week of practising about one hour a day, I’ve managed to do things like this, which, based on what I thought my abilities were, pretty much totally amazes and completely delights me!
Certainly not Picasso, obviously, and my only point is that if I can draw this much, anyone can! Plus, drawing is like a very special kind of meditation. Time, space, and the mind all melt away – the results almost don’t matter in comparison to the experience of an hour of concentrated drawing!
Before I got going on the book, another one of my super-talented sisters wrote this to me, which helped enormously:
“Straight away the first thing I want to talk about is the drawing as you’ve touched on one of the most fascinating aspects of drawing. You have to draw what you SEE, not what you THINK you see.
It sounds easy enough but you wouldn’t believe how dominant our mind is in over-riding our eyesight!!! Drawing is a constant war between what the eye sees and how the mind perceives it.
A nose for example. I draw a photo of someone and I draw the lines that outline the nose…. NO, STOP! Those lines probably AREN’T THERE!
What IS there is patches of light and patches of shadow in completely unexpected places. We imagine those classic nose-shaping or eye-shaping lines because we think they should be there. There may well be lines, but not in the same places our mind is telling us. Leave the mind behind! Just look for light and dark.
The mind is terribly strong and tries to makes us put lines where we think they should be! It’s a trick!”
This is what the ‘Drawing on the right side of the brain‘ book I am using is really saying, in a different way. You have to break our brain’s imposed symbol system that helps us make sense of the complex reality of the world on a day to day basis, and really see what lies underneath, ignoring the symbol systems that try to come in and impose themselves through the pencil, drawing the reality that we really see beneath.
This is proving to be a fascinating journey, only just begun! I may post further drawings here further down the line, depending on whether I can draw anything decent as time goes on! Otherwise I’ll stick with the photos 🙂