When I was young, I thought that every centimeter of a work of art was supposed to matter. Ah, youth! I suppose I’ll still grudgingly admit that every centimeter ought to be trying to accomplish something, not just sitting there reflecting back photons. But time has tempered an idealism that I was not in any case capable of attaining in my youth, notwithstanding how charming an idealism it might have been. Today I realize that sometimes a drawing doesn’t get what you were after, no matter how earnestly you search or how boldly or sensitively you work, and that’s okay. That’s the reason God made trees so that we’d always have more paper lying around to use for having another wack at it.
Even if a particular drawing doesn’t capture your goal, it may supply the experience you need to get where you’re going. In drawing we learn stuff about reality. If you draw flowers, you learn about flowers. Often we think that we already know what we draw — even that we know what things look like. Yet if we really look deeply, we discover something new about the familiar world.
I started a drawing as a study for a painting. I work on it in sessions — but I figure that of course these sessions still count as “drawing a day.” Here’s a few peeks at the parts. This drawing doesn’t feel to me like it’s going anywhere, but I work steadily all the same because sometimes you just go along for the ride. The moments spent looking are taking you somewhere unknown.