Drawing on the senses


My part in the workshop was centered around drawing. I first used it as a way for the participants to see more, to experience what we see when we look attentively. I had them draw a small area of grass. It’s surprising all that is contained where we don’t usually even look.

When I was in art school, I went on a picnic with a group of friends. It might even have been at a sports event as there were other groups of people there. We were sitting on a hillside and I was fascinated by the weeds in the grass. As I drew them, they seemed to proliferate. I could have gone on and on drawing that one little spot. (That’s the drawing in the photo above.)

Not everyone in the workshop had skill or experience in drawing. I tried to focus on seeing and imagination, not skill. I used what I call drawing games. To loosen preconceived ideas, allow coincidence, spontaneity, and connection. I’ve used many of these “games” to help people learn to see and feel visually.

Drawing is without doubt the most difficult of visual forms. It’s very immediate. Drawing has a more obvious sensitivity. You can’t hide in a drawing. Paintings feel more resolved. Like all forms of art, they are both worlds of possibilities.