Pictures


I bought some stuff at the Warehouse Stationery the other day, which I have been meaning to buy for a while. About 40 years. I bought a block of drawing paper, some pencils and a rubber. When I was very small I drew a lot. I covered the backs and blank pages of exercise books and those little newsprint jotter pads with all the stuff little boys draw, which usually involved fighter planes with circles on them shooting down other fighter planes with crosses on them. It wasn't exactly the early Leonardo, but my teacher in Standard 4 told my mother that my future lay in art. Well it didn't, obviously. In fact with the encouragement of my art teacher,I gave up the drawing in High School, and haven't done any since, except for cartoon illustrations in letters to girls - which obviously worked because one of them married me. There's always been a niggling sense of loss though, in the place where paper and pencil used to be. In my twenties I even joined an art class but the other students were ladies with blue hair doing garish oil paintings of trees and sunsets, and I only lasted two sessions. I took photos instead.

Photographs are a way of seeing. If you go out with a camera and a head full of ideas about the pictures you are going to come home with, you will be disappointed, because they just won't happen. Instead you need to go out with a blank mind - my default state, I will admit - and try and see what is there. It takes a bit of knowledge, but not much, to be able to get what you see onto the film, but the real trick is in the seeing. It's more a matter of shutting off than turning on. It's all about stopping your habitual way of seeing things and being able to see what is actually there. Which is the same with drawing, I suspect, but even more so. I'm not really interested in producing drawings. I'm interested in seeing. Angles. Shapes. The way the light falls on things. The way things sit together. To get this stuff on paper I'll have to learn to see it first. I'll need to be present to it.

I have been encouraged in this step by my friend Audrey who is a genuine bona fide artist - who has exhibitions with more than the average number of red dots and people who proudly point out to their friends her signature on the pictures they buy. I talked with her one day about the process of seeing in photography and she told me I needed to learn to draw and I knew she was absolutely right. After all these years a circle has turned and I'm a little apprehensive because to do this requires risk and effort. Which is required for any form of being present to: with the world, with people, with God.

Comments

Kathryn said…
Kelvin, it is wonderful that you are going to take up your pencil, even if it has taken so many years. I have found, that in life, there are so many things I would like to do and not nearly enough time to do them all.
Drawing and painting were always a pastime for me as a child, but I didn't take it up again until I was in my 40s, and how fulfilling it was! And now it seems I haven't done any for such a long time, and the urge to paint wells up again. I might have to get all my painting materials out again! (They should really never be put away!)
Drawing and painting are so satisfying (even if my paintings are not very professional).
I wish you well with this new venture. Don't be too serious about it, have fun
Kathryn :-)
Katherine said…
Yay! Do it! A drawing a day. Date them, hide them if you must, but a drawing a day. And draw what you see, not what you know.
D.C. Cramer said…
Welcome to CC Blogs. I'm looking forward to reading your posts, especially as my father has been recently diagnosed with advanced kidney cancer. God bless.
Tillerman said…
Apart from the balance that these shapes attain in the photograph there is something else I like. For me it is the ambiguity. The orange and the green spaces seem to fight for the role of the positive space. Looked at one way the orange negative space becomes a hard edged sculptural form on green negative space. Looked at another way the green appears to be the end of a leaf with orange being the negative space.

Viewed now the green as positive wins by a whisker, (and it is the end of a leaf no doubt) but when I initially viewed the photograph the orange was strongly positive and I wondered to what is this piece of orange steel attached?

It’s all in the eye of the beholder I suppose. Different people perceive different things, and some see and take pleasure in the ambiguity.
VenDr said…
I look at this picture and the first thing I see that I muffed the focus - well - the depth of field to be more precise. If I could have been bothered going to get a tripod and used a slower shutter speed ( and thus a smaller aperture) it might have been quite a good shot. But I sort of like it anyway, for the colours and the shapes which is why I used it.

As with everything, having an idea is all well and good - but it's the craftsmanship and the time and effort which lies behind it that really makes the difference between an OK piece of work and GOOD piece of work.