“Oh, you mean draw you a cow that looks like a cow?” she said with a poisonous and knowing smile.
“Go ahead. Funny, but everybody I can think of right off the top of the head could sure God draw a fat realistic cow if they ever happened to want to. Hans Hoffman, Kline, Marca-Relli, Guston, Solomon, Rivers, Picasso, Kandinsky Motherwell, Pollock. And you know it, baby. If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. You dabblers bug me. You want the applause without all the thousands of hours of labor learning how to draw, how to make brush strokes, learning all the things that give painting some bite and bones even when you don’t use any part of it. Go ahead, draw the lamp. Quick sketch. Prove I’m a jackass.”
- John D. MacDonald, One Fearful Yellow Eye
This morning, I am 10% chagrined and 90% determined.
I'm chagrined because I've known for years that I should do more heavy lifting, i.e., drawing classes, composition work, value studies, color studies, figure studies, and all the other "business of art" things that - in dear Travis McGee's words - create "bite and bones."
I'm determined because a) I've always enjoyed heavy lifting, and b) I now have opportunity and motivation for it.
At yesterday's Open Studio, we were treated to a guest appearance and critique from author, consultant, and professional curator, Rose Fredrick.
Ms. Fredrick not only has serious art chops, but an energetic style that is simultaneously warm and fearless. She was sensitive but clear with her critiques and beautifully - mesmerizing-ly - articulate about how to take each person's art to the next level.
Note: in that last sentence, I said "art," not "paintings." She did give wonderful advice for individual paintings. But she also identified skill-sets specific to each artist's style and medium; shared a basic how-to for plein aire (I needed this so much); suggested artists to contact for further training; and generously dished about what she looks for when curating a exhibit or exhibit/sale.
For hours, literally, Ms. Fredrick unflaggingly discussed our work and the larger creative process. She vivified concepts that previously were just words to me: "art is a conversation," for example. She gave extensive research and reading take-aways. I came away clutching pages of notes and reeling from new ideas. If you ever, ever have a chance to hear this amazing woman speak, you must attend.
In the meantime, please enjoy this interview, Talking with Thiebaud, on Ms. Fredrick's website. Fair warning: you'll want to curl up with your favorite adult beverage and allow plenty of time to digest the delights herein.
Now, from the mountaintop to the laundry: on Ms. Fredrick's advice, I am determined to draw something, anything, from life, every day. No matter what my schedule, surely I can find a pencil and a scrap of lunchbag somewhere in this house.
Thus: Draw 365. I started yesterday while my toddler was creating her own masterpieces:
And today I found a moment - albeit one not quite long enough - while the dog was eating her breakfast:
I don't plan to post 365 pieces of litter from my kitchen counter, but I'll keep you updated on the project. Now go read that interview!