Sunday, March 12, 2006

Fear of a Blank Page

Originally uploaded by matt_leclair.
So I'm trying to learn to draw again. It used to be something I was great at, but as soon as I discovered digital, I abandoned traditional mediums. Now I'm trying to get that back and I'm finding it much more challenging than I thought it would be! Where's the Undo button? Oh, that's now called an eraser, but I can't just erase my recent mistakes without erasing the lines underneath it. And getting my hands to draw what my eyes are seeing... it is so frustrating. I mean, I know what it looks like. I can see the shapes, but getting my hand to move in a way that recreates that shape... It is so frustrating! You think you have control over what your body does, but when it comes right down to it, most of us can only make rough gestures. I've tried to fall back to other solutions. On the computer when I can't do something, some sort of technological upgrade will do the trick. So I tried buying more and different pencils, a nicer pencil sharpener, a nice Moleskine sketchbook, but it hasn't worked. Drawing ability is something you have to build. You can't buy it.

So I'm trying to relearn what used to come naturally. Why? It seemed like a good idea at the time. I just feel like I'm out of touch with my visually creative side. Drawing used to be one of the things I loved to do the most but I haven't done it for almost 15 years. It is a different kind of creativity from doing things on the computer. It involves the brain and body in ways that digital art or photography doesn't. And I like a challenge.

One of the biggest challenges is intimidation. There's something terrifying to me about seeing blank page and knowing that it is all up to me to fill it up with things of my own creation. It is like being naked. Everything you see on the page is part of me. And I'm flabby and out of shape.

Nicely though, the new music room turns out to be a great drawing room too. I can put on the Vivaldi or the Tartini and be blissed out to the music while I draw. It really helps to focus on the art.

The subject matter of what I'm trying to draw also seemed like a good idea at the time, but is turning out to be far more difficult than I thought it would be. We found this amazing dead crab sculpture on a trip to St. Andrews, Canada. It turns out that dead crabs are hard to draw! What at first glance seem like clearly defined parts turn out to be built up of subtle shading. Things that are defined by their highlights are challenging to pull off in pencil. I'm going to have to try it in charcoal, making the whole page dark and erasing the light tones.

And, of course, once I got all set up this morning with my sketchbook, pencils and coffee, Dash decided she deserved a dairy treat and I had to move everything quickly so she didn't knock it off. Jessie thinks I spoil her, to which Dash responds, "You're not getting spoiled if you're just getting what you deserve!"

No comments: