Drawing up the Ladder
I think that most adults really wish that they could still draw and paint. Almost all of us liked making pictures when we were children – it’s a natural thing for humans to do. Watching colour spread out across the paper, drawing pictures of houses and people and dogs and cats, or whatever else we were interested in was all so easy then. We didn’t worry if our symbolic stick men were exact or not, or if we coloured the trees bright pink with blue apples. Our pictures were stories that we were telling ourselves – ‘here is the house, and I can draw the rooms and people inside the house too’. We made more important things bigger, so heads are much larger than bodies, eyes are enormous and Mummy might be twice the size of our naughty sister.
Somewhere along the line though, we decided that we just weren’t able to make things look real enough. We copied the symbols of houses and people that we were shown, but they still didn’t look right. Maybe someone laughed at our purple lemon, or our six legged horse. We were told to make grass green and skies blue. Little by little we lost our innocent creativity in an attempt to what? Please other people?
Many children then give up, and the precious gift of creative self expression slips away. Some love their art classes at school, and do well in their exams, but when Real Life kicks in, who has time to practice drawing or painting? Years later, when circumstances change, and they have some time for themselves, many decide to take up art again.
I really love teaching adults – it’s such a great feeling to help someone realise that actually they can draw much better than they ever thought they could, just by being shown a few simple ‘tricks’. My previous Blogs (see archives!) have given you every single one of those ‘tricks’. I wonder if you have tried any? They really do work. All we need to do is see the world as it really is instead of how we think it is. And then draw a line around the shapes. It only takes one basic drawing class to get that ‘Ah-ha!’ feeling. Of course, it then takes practice. Anything worthwhile takes practice. I still practice constantly and hope that I am still learning. It’s like climbing an endless ladder that you can’t see the top of because of the clouds – every rung teaches you something new. You don’t ever want reach the top because that would mean the adventure was over.
I am happily climbing the ladder, challenging my drawing skills by using things I can’t control easily, by drawing at night, by drawing people that are moving, by drawing with colour…… how are you challenging yours?