With so much interest in plein air painting these days, it's easy
to overlook how important drawing skills can be to the landscape painting artist.
Fundamentally, drawing is both a way of seeing and a way of knowing a subject.
If you can draw it, then you own it. It is in your visual library and can be
recalled when needed. But the act and art of drawing goes much deeper than a
mere recording process. For the artist, drawing is how we know the world. It is
an expression of life and evidence of what we find relevant and recognize as
beautiful. The ability to translate that appreciation of beauty into a
beautiful drawing is a high art.
||Dancer Tying Her Scarf by Edgar Degas, drawing.
There is also something wonderful about the tactile sensation of
a pencil or crayon dragging across a receptive paper surface. It is a feedback
loop, and when one gets very accomplished at drawing techniques
, there is a seductive
pleasure in making the subtle variations of pressure resulting in the kind
of rich tones that serve to create an image. It recalls the simple, untroubled
pleasures of our easy drawings from childhood, when each mark we made was a new
experiment and a revelation. Our first simple drawings thrilled us because they gave
physical form to our imaginations, unfettered by adult expectations or rules of
any kind. They were also the one thing that we could make that was truly our
We thank the gods for the humble No. 2 pencil--just holding it
above a pristine piece of fine drawing paper still gives us that familiar
feeling of empowerment and excitement about the worlds we might create.
Keep drawing! We would love to hear from you about your first drawing experiences and if they shaped the artist you've become today, so leave a comment below and please
stop by The Artist's Road to read more
in-depth articles and interviews with prominent artists.
--John & Ann