Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Curbside Offerings and Loosening Up
As soon as we got home, I found a sketchbook with some empty pages, and I drew from memory the chair shown above. Memory drawing is not my forte, never has been. I always draw what I see. I have a rule engraved in my head from my first drawing class in college that says "Drawing is Seeing. To draw well you have to look." And yet, one of the best and most interesting figure drawing artists that I know is my friend Loy who always draws without referring to a model. If she can't figure out how to draw a hand, for example, she closes her eyes and puts her own hand in the position she wants to draw, and the way she feels tells her how to draw. My husband can draw machines and cars and planes completely from memory. My friend Pat barely glances at something or someone and draws wonderful interpretive drawings in seconds on her iPad
And then I couldn't stand not knowing how the chairs really looked. So I drove back to the place of the chairs. They were gone from the curb, but the little second-hand furniture store in the strip mall was still open, and I could see the chairs just inside the door. I went in and drew the second chair from the left above. I was surprised at how different the chairs really looked from my memory of them. But the feeling and life of the chairs that I had drawn from memory actually seemed more expressive to me than the carefully drawn one. A woman came up to me as I was sketching and started telling me the price and showed me the rose velvet upholstery underneath the soiled cream-colored covers. I slid my sketchbook into my bag and talked to her and got interested in some of the other chairs she had on display. She was just closing, so I left. When I got home I had only one sketch of one of the real chairs, so I dared to drew in the other five chairs from memory and with reference to the one I had drawn in the store.
Most interesting to me was my observation that I felt like I was somehow cheating when I drew from memory. Time to start playing around with different kinds of reality.