Where to begin

When I make these repetitious scenes of the formal garden I start the drawing in different places.  Sometimes I begin with the pointy tree on the left, sometimes with the one on the right, sometimes with the dark round tree in front.  Each of the different beginnings seems like ways of taking a new path over familiar ground. 

It’s true that I notice different features of the real landscape by varying the way I begin drawing it.  But there’s an internal landscape whose topography is more crucial.  And every new line explores that landscape in ways that bring actual discoveries, that chart brand new territories.

Sometimes drawing is a refinement of feeling.  You might see the effect in the drawing, or you might not.  But it needs a chance to occur in the artist’s mind so that in some future image it can be manifestly present, can be palpably visible to the spectator as surely as it was for the artist.

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Learning to be Reckless

One reason, I find, for repeating the same motifs many times is that I finally grant myself freedom.  After I’ve drawn the same thing several times, I begin to find a special sort of relaxation.  I let myself try it different ways because of having gotten the other “serious” ways already under my belt. 

With the oncoming of the beautiful weather, I’ve been drawing pictures of a formal garden.  I need more information about the garden than I presently have, if I’m to do my painting the way that I want it done.   The light changes fast, and you find your gaze attracted first to this place then that, but as you are in the process of surveying the whole it is — even then — in transition. 

It’s the Monet moment.  But I decide to tackle it with drawing rather than dragging umpteen canvases out into Nature.

However, to return to this sensation of letting go … even though I know I will draw this garden many times, with each visit I must recapture the sense of freedom all over.  At least that’s the way it is now.  I do two drawings and then on the third I can throw caution to the wind.   Ah, the exhileration!