Pierre Bonnard was the master of a loose sort of airy drawing.  The drawing above was a study for his painting of the  Dining Room Overlooking the Garden (La Salle à manger sur le jardin) that I wrote about in an earlier post (in regard to little copies I made of some of the details of the painting when it was exhibited at the Phillips Collection in Washington).

Almost everything Bonnard had to say about art he said with paint, but he does also have a few spare collected thoughts rendered as words, among which we find this advice: “Every painter must find in his “elements” of work, resources, reminders from which to draw from.  He only needs to look until he finds those which are true to his expression, to his usual needs, but there again the role of the unexpected is great.”

“Tout peintre doit trouver dans ses éléments de travail des ressources, des rappels, parmis lesquels il peut puiser.  Il n’a qu’à chercher jusqu’à ce qu’il trouve ceux qui sont conformes à son expression, à ses besoins habituels.  Mais là encore la part de l’inattendu est grande.”

The scribbly-ness of a drawing like this I find so beautiful.  It is as though he has captured the light that everywhere surrounds things.  And further Bonnard has found something quiet and sparkling and private in the moments of everyday life.

[Top of the post:  Drawing for La Salle à manger sur le jardin, by Pierre Bonnard, pencil]


4 thoughts on “Drawing Loosely

  1. is drawing loosely another technique in drawing? Sorry if my question so dumb, I just new in drawing, and I wanted to learn all kind of drawing technique other than the contour drawing technique I am learning right now, I wanted to know other drawing technique so I could pass a test to enter an art school.

  2. I think your question is quite a good one. I would characterize “drawing loosely” as mostly a descriptive term more than a technique, but only because you could say there are many ways (or techniques) for drawing something loosely.

    Think of it as opposite in approach — broadly — to “precision” or particularly to linear precision. There’s a kind of drawing that is almost exclusively concerned with edges of things and with shapes, proportion and perspective in very realistic ways. In contrast, a loose kind of drawing takes the subject in terms of its overall effects and goes from the large impression toward the particulars — without perhaps ever making the trip all the way to realism.

    Artists who draw something loosely want to understand broad qualities sometimes of atmosphere, sometimes of form, sometimes of emotional feeling, or some other evocative quality.

    I wish you great good luck on your test for art school. I think you can feel confident that no single idea or term or technique is likely to interfere with your gaining entrance. After all, if you know everything already, who needs the school!

    Most important aspect to getting into an art school is to draw a lot. The more you draw, the better you get, and that in turn usually makes you want to draw more because it is, after all, a very enjoyable thing to do, and so you improve and grow

    Also, for what it’s worth, let me tell you I applied more than once to graduate programs in art and was turned down. After one of those rejections, I went on the become curator of an exhibit that included my pictures and those of some other artists I admire. That exhibit was featured as a “best bet” by a noted local art critic. And that exhibit led to some other exhibits that were very well received, which in turn led to my competing for and being awarded a large commission. So, getting turned down from art school isn’t necessarily always a bad thing.

    Whatever you want to do, just be determined. If one path closes, look for another. And if art is your goal, PERSIST! Work, learn, follow your heart, soak up information all around you, and keep on going.

    Thanks for leaving a comment that asks a question probably lots of other people were wondering about too.

    Aletha Kuschan

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