Drawing means everything to me. I can’t understand why other people don’t feel the same way as I do about it. I could not live without drawing. At least, life would be a real struggle without drawing.
I have been drawing, allegedly, since I was two years old. I haven’t drawn every day since then, I’ve had breaks, but even during times of relative non-creative output such as when I was working or busy looking after very small children I have found time to doodle.
It is unfashionable in academic art circles to say that drawing makes you feel good. They don’t like you to admit that drawing is easy and, heaven forbid, enjoyable. They want you to take it seriously as a discipline and to use it as a media with an aim in mind other than to make you feel better. They want it to be hard. However, I can’t deny the fact that I draw to escape and I draw to calm me and to have a clearer perspective on challenges that are troubling me. The fact that it an activity is pleasurable and therapeutic doesn’t necessarily take away from the seriousness of it as a fine art discipline. In fact, one of my aims as an artist is to encourage drawing to be taken more seriously than it sometimes is. Drawing deserves as much validity as oil paints, sculpture and performance art (and indeed any other artistic expression). This is happening I think, evidenced by annual drawing prizes and exhibitions, such as the Jerwood Drawing Prize. But more work needs to be done.
To encourage a love of drawing, over Christmas my family took up a drawing challenge: draw a wine bottle using just a pencil and white paper. Some of the participants hadn’t drawn since school. It was a very interesting exercise. Most found the exercise quite hard work. I’m not sure they found it therapeutic. Perhaps I am a little unusual, after all.
Since looking at the topic of repetition I have been drawing more than ever before. I have been having quite a stressful time in my real life as well and I don’t think that the two are unrelated. Drawing repetitiously in itself is therapeutic. There is less skill involved, less thinking and it is easier to let the thoughts flow when drawing a simple object or idea. I have found it addictive. Drawing has become my drug of choice.
If I could I’d draw all the time, I would. Sadly, that is impossible. There are other things that need to be achieved in the day such as paid work and day-to-day living. If only someone would pay me to draw. Or is that akin asking someone to pay me to be a drug addict?