cat's cradle, watercolour by Pender Island contemporary artist barbra edwards
September 17 2014
Thoughts on Drawing

“Drawing, as a form of mark-making, came first in human experience, even before song.” sculptor David Smith

I’ve just read ‘Drawing is Thinking’ by American graphic designer Milton Glaser. What a terrific title! His book is timely with the resurgence of interest in works on paper. Every culture has used drawing as a form of communication, from cave drawings to graffiti. Drawing is part of everyone’s life. Many of us spent hours drawing as young children and when we did, it was magic. As adults we draw to explain. Glaser comments that the relationship between the hands and the brain is what is essential. When you interrupt a child’s drawing activity during their developmental years, the brain does not develop the same way. 

“…what is most compelling about the act of drawing is that you become aware, or conscious of, what you are looking at only through the mechanism of trying to draw it. When I look at something, I do not see it unless I make an internal decision to draw it.” says Glaser.

The idea of ‘drawing is thinking’ resonates deeply with me, as it is core to my creative practice. I sketch in a focused, meditative way to map out what I need to say. Gestural marks can give visual passion to my words. Then a combination of my photos and sketches give me a leaping off point as I face the blank canvas. Once painting begins, thinking is set aside and intuition steps in.The painting is reconstructed from my initial sketch…developing it’s own identity as I wash another colour on. 

This watercolour called ‘Cat’s Cradle’ reminded me of the children’s string game as it’s forms came together…summer afternoons, secrets shared, winds blowing.

                           “ Your attention is where you are.” Deepak Chopra


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