Monday, August 07, 2006

Robert Genn "In praise of drawing"

Last week, on August 1st, Robert Genn wrote a piece on "In Praise of Drawing". He obviously touched a nerve as by last Friday more than 1,000 people had responded to his letter. You can read both his letter and a selection of some of the responses he got in this clickback link

His letter comments on the fact that drawing has exploded on to the internet.
It seems to me that these days, while a lot of the fine art drawing has turned to forms of tracing, and high quality drawing is somewhat rare, there is still lots of it around. Particularly with the advent of the Internet, there's an outbreak of drawing-for-its-own-sake. With over 9 million visual artists in North America, and over 70,000 new blogs coming on stream daily, drawing is alive and well and living online.
The level of response he's had on this topic has presumably had an impact as his next letter - concerning John Ruskin - continues the drawing theme.

The stimulus for "In Praise of Drawing" appears to have been the recent exhibition of drawing instruction manuals called "Teaching America to Draw" at the Grolier Club in New York - which has now closed. A summary of the exhibition can be found here

Robert Genn concluded his letter
Folks who never thought they could draw are now drawers.
For many, drawing represents low commitment and high joy.
For others, drawing's the key to everything good.
Fact is, drawing is still important, still relevant, and still irresistible.
So do any of you folks out there identify with any of the above characterisations and, if so, which is the one which describes you best?

Note: You can subscribe to Robert Genn's twice weekly letter to artists at his Painter's Keys website.

Links: Click here to visit the Painters Keys website and here to subscribe

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  1. I'll step up to the question Katherine. It seems I knew it when I was young, forgot for a long while and then a few years ago realized( Thank God ) that without a doubt for me drawing Is the Keyto Everything Good. I can't say that it's always irresistable...some of the figure drawing sessions this past year felt very much like hard work. Something in my gut tells me it's Very I'll keep trudging.
    ..I'll try to keep things brief here, but I would like to add that I was recently looking through some old sketchbooks and I noted that even the simplest of drawings I've done while traveling have so much more emotional impact and awaken much deeper memories then any photos.
    And I'll say this in conclusion, I don't think I draw nearly enough.
    Perhaps because I'm typing too much:)
    Great Article by Genn.
    Thanks for the link.

  2. "Drawing is the Key to everything good". That might be a slight overstatement but it certainly emphasizes the very real fact that drawing does lead to many good things. For one thing it makes me slow down, that in and of itself is a tremendous benefit and blessing. It also makes me think about lovely, noble, beautiful things like the delicate curve of wildflower stems, dappled light scattered over the lawn and the intricate spiral of a shell. Drawing these things focuses all my attention on them and holds my mind there feasting on their beauty and goodness. Nourishing food for the soul that is usually snacking (or in the cae of annoying pop-ups and commercials force fed) on the visual junk food that bombards us each day. Drawing and focusing on beauty and goodness even when found in unexpected or ordinary places is also a powerful antidote to much of the ugliness that surrounds us. I also find drawing to be "low commitment and high joy". Though I love to paint the idea that this one might "go to the gallery, be entered into a show, be sold to a collector" is always lurking in the back of my mind. Drawing in sketchbook keeps the love and enthusiasim of an amateur alive in me.

  3. Chuck and Jan - you've both really added a spin to this - thanks. Great comments!


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