Howard Ikemoto said:
Howard Ikemoto said:
What I drew.
Small waterfall indoors, Carson 2009.
Pencil on watercolour paper, 7"W by 7.25"H.
Robert Henri said,
"Realize that a drawing is not a copy. It is a construction in very different materials. A drawing is an invention."
Not a portfolio photograph :-) but a snapshot of the drawing stuck on the whiteboard by my desk.
What I saw.
"Wings of Paradise" Butterfly Conservatory, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.
Rocks, water, philodendron or two. Upper left, out of frame, a palm frond frequented by finches all afternoon. Far right, eye level, out of frame, a butterfly feeding station. Foreground, out of frame, the paving had some tiny pebbles on it and finches regularly landed and tried to eat them. This seems to be their primary strategy: It's small enough to be a crumb of food so I shall pick it up and try to eat it. Is is a crumb? No, not this time. Walk around, try another pebble. Is this one a crumb? Return to first pebble. Is it a crumb yet?
I wonder if finches have a crop. I know how all the gravel gets in there. Is it really aiding digestion, or is that just rationalization for generations of finches who can't be bothered to distinguish crumbs from pebbles?
Wayne Hunt said,
"Sketching is not really about the finished drawing, which is usually no great thing anyway. It's about looking and drawing as a simultaneous activity. It's really about the art of being there."
Drawing is a verb. It's how I examine the world. Babies clutch things and put them in their mouths; I run my pencil all over everything I see. The piece of paper is a souvenir, not a product.
Go somewhere & draw something.
I met a young man the other day and discovered, in conversation, that he was a first-year student at the university where I teach. He's studying art and science, and expressed his ambition to attend a medical illustration program at another school. I introduced myself as an art prof with a particular interest in anatomical drawing, and cheerfully volunteered my contact information. "When you're getting ready to apply to the illustration program, I'll be happy to give you some advice."
He hesitated. I initially assumed that he felt awkward accepting advice from an instructor at one school about applying to another (although it's done all the time, expected, and arguably necessary). Perhaps, oh vanity, he thought I was a cougar preying on salsa-dancing frosh? (See the jolly photo alongside column. That is not, I'm afraid, the face of a cougar.)
We bumped into each other later at the bar and I actually handed him my email address. He hesitated again. Why? "Because I don't know what I'd ask you for."
He didn't know what he'd ask. To me that says that he wasn't really working on getting into this program, just daydreaming about it. My offer put him on the spot, facing the difference between Wouldn't It Be Nice and I'm Working On It. Oops.
Last week, a friend asked if I'd stop by and answer a few questions for her daughter, who is also studying art at the university where I teach. When I arrived, the young woman had her most recent assignment on the table, paint on the palette, and a handful of questions prepared for me. Who got the most from their opportunity with me?
I love dreams. Without them, we'd never begin. But dreams are just the beginning. When you are ready to work on pursuing that dream, I have two pieces of advice.
Recognize mentors, and prepare for them. That's not a criticism. That's friendly advice. (See the jolly photo alongside the column? That's a friendly face.) The next time I say, "Feel free to ask me for advice," I hope to hear someone say, "How nice of you to offer. How do you recommend I present my portfolio?" or "Thank you for that. May I call you next week when I've reviewed the admission requirements?" or "That's great. What do you think are the most interesting schools for printmaking?"