One of the most important conditions for making art is willingness to begin. Really. It is so simple, but getting oneself to sit down with that blank page and make decisions requires a lot of things coming together. For most artists, there seems to be a resistance to beginning. So, one of my studio rules is “just begin- everyday”. Then everything else falls into place.
You can’t plan a drawing. Theories and concepts about art are wonderful but they can really obstruct the making process. Paintings don’t come ready made. You have to find them as you go. Most of the finding is visual and instinctive. It is important to trust the simplicity of nonverbal visual intuition.
Sitting here, I look at the blank paper and wait. Eventually, a voice says “boat” or “ocean” or maybe a visual will flash. Maybe I think of a game such as combining day and night in one image. At that point, there is a combination of listening to the continuing inner instruction and relating to the emerging drawing. So, I flip between attention to the muse’s instruction and attention to drawing as craft. As the drawing progresses, it becomes more about correction and development of what I see on the paper. That is what is meant when an artist says, “the drawing tells me what to do”.
Composition, or the relationship of the parts, is king. It is the primary decision maker ruling over other technical aspects such as line, space, edge, and form. Also, it’s important to remember that all the hours of working from life inform these drawings. Working from life enables working from imagination.
There is a moment when the drawing is complete. That moment is somewhere between undercooked and overcooked. Undercooked drawing feels too thin. It lacks dynamic complexity and enough information to make the world accessible to the viewer. Overdone feels heavy and cluttered. If I am paying attention, there comes a moment when I know I have hit the mark.
This process is incredibly satisfying.