Tuesday, October 13, 2009

On Drawing

unfinished pencil sketch on white acrylic on canvas

When I am not drawing/painting/creating, I like to read about drawing/painting/creativity. I have always loved essays -I studied literature, and while writing essays did feel like a chore at times (we had to churn them out), I enjoyed writing them for the most part. There is something very satisfying about using your critical mind and really getting stuck into a work.
Some of my favourite books are collections of essays about art and literature (among them John Berger's and Siri Hustvedt's -beautiful writings). It is fascinating to see a work of art through someone else's eyes and accompany them on their wanderings. I am aware that too much theorizing can kill a work (or one's love of said work), but a well-written, passionate essay is in itself a work of art.

I have a collection of essays about drawing that was given to me by a friend, and reading them was a revelation -I was so happy that day! I love these moments of recognition- someone out there has managed to put into words things I have felt and never been able to express, what drawing is all about, the beauty of it...
It is awful hard to "explain" drawing, since the visual is like a completely different parallel language to the verbal language. When I teach drawing, I always struggle to find the right words when I want to tell a student why a particular line they drew is beautiful, for example.

But where was I going with this? Oh yes - I am going to post art quotes here from time to time. First up is Siri Hustvedt (and I am going to finish with this, as I am still extremely tired from my trip, and my brain isn't working):

"...I apprehend the artist's image on paper as a commmunicative act, the mute expression of something known to him or her. My perception of the lines, the shading, the figures or things or shapes is created between me and it. And what I see there is also felt, not only for its content, but as an artefact of the living hand that once moved over an empty space and has left behind the marks of that intimate encounter." (Hustvedt, Siri, " 'This Living Hand' ", Drawing Guide, The Guardian, September 2009, p.5)


  1. A couple of days ago I started to read an essay on art written by Sigmund Freud (yes, our good old friend the shrink).
    I fell asleep.

    Well, it was just after having lunch, I was lying on my bed, I hadn't slept much... :)

    To compensate this, I'm seriously thinking about starting Art History at the UNED (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia). I've researched a little bit and I think I can do it for free. So, why don't take advantage of this chance?

    ¡Vuelve a comentar! Uoh! ¡Te necesitamos! Uoh!

  2. Siri es la mujer de Paul Auster, ¿no?

  3. Several years ago I helped a student taking an art class as an elective and it was fascinating to look at and fathom the reasons an artist chose certain colors or scenes. A little bit of the person is in everything artistic.

    blessings and hugs,


  4. Oiga señorita!
    De que se trata esto?
    En su blog cuento mas poblacion Spanish que de cualquier sitio ...

    Besos Marina.

    El dibujo es maravilloso.

  5. Dan - yes, you should go for it! It sounds great! Hmm, Freud wouldn't be one of my favourite writers either...
    Yes, Siri Hustvedt is married to Paul Auster.

    Marcy -thanks for sharing that! I'm really interested in why and how we choose (subconsciously) our themes, colours, etc.

    Borja -Gracias! Voy a escribir en espanol pronto, te lo prometo.. porque me alegro veros aquí. No sé si poner la traducción después de la entrada o tenerla en otro sitio..a ver...

    Marina xox

  6. Que niña mas guapa!!!

    Que bien habla español!!!
    Encantada de conocerte, vengo desde el blog de Fete y te añado esta direccion si quieres visitar mi blog.
    Besos Guapisima!!!!

  7. Bego -muchas gracias por venir. Debo tanto a Fete -me hace mucha ilusión que todos vosotros estáis aquí. Me encanta tu blog! Besos