I have been in a reverie these past several days, one made richer by drawing. It provokes all these feelings, seeing the beautiful blue and pearl of the Chinese vase, the exquisite character of the lines that curve round its edges. I understand better some aspect of Degas whose pictures often seize upon evocative fragments. You find these fragments through drawing because drawing is simple and intense and uncluttered by problems and distractions of technique. It’s more just pure looking, watching with a pencil.
I can see how a composite approach to a still life can become essential: you can do still life object by object and arrange it only in the picture itself, like a Dutch flower painter. Or through combining objects in an artist’s set up, you can draw the mysterious relationships between things, you can study material reality, marking the complex interstices of things and the empty spaces around them.
You can get at something even by just doing the effect of light curling round a single object and its unitary surface, as in a drawing of an egg.
As complex as exploring another planet is seeing intense and particular effects of vision.
Just the space between one edge of a vase’s rim and the other side ought to matter! This is reality we’re talking about! Ah, the space in between them.
[A version of this post first appeared at Art Writing Bold Drawing, drawing by Aletha Kuschan]