Welcome to MissouriBendStudio!

This is an online journal of my artistic investigations and a way to communicate about my work, ideas, quandries and queries! I welcome comments and conversation and do hope you enjoy these musings. My artwork is available in my shop MissouriBendStudio on Etsy.com or on my website.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

On Drawing....The Search


The ongoing conversation about drawing continues in this post...there's much to talk about, it seems to me! Do feel free to chime in anytime, as I'm happy to have a dialogue and hear about your experiences with drawing. For the past couple of posts, I've been talking about my daily drawing practice, as a form of mediation and as a way to let go and watch what unfolds. 

It helps to approach the process from the inside out, rather than the outside in. That may not make much sense at first glance. Drawing in this way uses your brain, but the "thinking" comes through the senses, through the body, rather than just a cognitive approach. As a kind of meditation, you are open to the conversation and to what is happening within as well as without. 

I'll share some specifics with the drawings from the last couple of days to illustrate what I am talking about. Yesterday morning, I sat down with my little 6x4" sheet of Japanese paper and my trusty mechanical pencil. After dating the page, I began with a dot toward the top and without picking up the pencil, had the sense to let the the line wander from there, in a kind of aimless search...for something....for the drawing itself, I think. The meandering lines continued, making one shape then moving to another when the moment felt right. I understood through the mark-making that this meandering line was about "the search"....both in a literal sense and as a metaphor. 

I respond to drawings, to paintings and all manner of works that allow the sense of the search to come through. Some artworks appear to have emerged into being fully formed, but I need to see the quest, the false starts (there are none, really), the evidence of the search in the process of making. As a maker, it is through the search that I find the meaning, just as that little moment was revealed in the making of those meandering lines yesterday. After the initial pencil lines, I picked up my white ink pen and overlaid more searching, meandering lines.


The notion of "the search" reminded me that the process of drawing from life, from observation, is also fundamentally about the search. On another larger sheet of paper I began to draw the not-so-well-tended-geranium in a pot on my desk. If you want to draw from life, it begins with seeing....with looking, with the search. I allowed a searching line to flow from the pencil (and later that white pen again) as I let my eyes wander up and down the stem, following the edges of leaves, as they overlapped and intersected. My hand became an extension of my eyes...Drawing from life is fundamentally an act of eye-hand coordination. As many of my readers know, I'm not all that keen on drawing from life, as my work takes a much more indirect route. And yet, it's all a search....for being in the moment, for meaning, for discovering and describing what we see or what we know to be true.


Today's drawing began much as the one yesterday, but the dots came first, for the most part, and then a meandering line was back, wanting to connect these dots in most indirect ways....circling, looping, wandering in ways that made loose connections between these random dots. And there it was again...the moment of understanding through the work. We all attempt to construct meaning in our lives and this process of making connections between points, between events, is how we do it. Sometimes the connection between dots is a pretty direct, straight line...a kind of cause and effect, but so many times, it seems that the line between this point and that is meandering, looping, intersecting and overlapping with other lines. It's the never ending search.

Maybe this gives you a bit more understanding (maybe not!) as to how the process of drawing tells me what the drawing itself is about. It is a process of "inside out" where the meaning emerges through an evolving understanding as my pencil moves across the page, rather than one where I know what I want to say and set about saying it. The insights come through the searching marks.

I make many of these drawings available in my Etsy shop with the hope that they bring some moments of contemplation as well as joy and delight to others. I'd love to hear from you with your thoughts and experiences about the power of drawing.