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Phil’s Rants #5:
Beginning drawers often think drawing is about duplicating what one sees. I find that, in fact, drawing can’t be about duplication. We see partially and can spend a lifetime noticing more and more about any subject, hence can never duplicate a subject’s entirety in any given drawing. However, the act of connecting observing with making leads us to see and experience far more of what we are observing than we would otherwise. So drawing becomes a tool that helps us connect more profoundly with both the world and ourselves. That deepened connection happens regardless of how the drawing turns out, regardless of how short it falls of our aspirations, regardless of how the drawing looks to any other person. The more one can drop the notions of success and failure, of right and wrong, the more freedom one has to delve deeply and personally into the power of drawing to connect you with yourself and the world. Imagine if you decided to become an archer, but the target was 2 miles away. At first you might shoot the arrow ten feet, and shoot wildly at that. After years, you might be able to shoot the arrow 100 yards, then maybe 200 yards. By the time you get old, you realize the joy was in shooting farther, not in reaching the target. The target simply gave direction to your efforts.

(A draft copy of Phil’s book, Introduction to Drawing, is available for $15 per copy.)

The Drawing Studio—Essays/rants

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