Monday, March 6, 2017

"The Secret of Drawing" Episode 1: "The Line of Enquiry" 2005


If you need some motivation to get off your bum and draw then you need to watch this. "The Secret of Drawing" is a BBC television series hosted by Andrew Graham-Dixon.  A while back I tried my best to shout from the rooftops to inform everyone how important "basic" drawing is. Thankfully I found this show because Graham-Dixon does a much better job of proving this point.
It begins with a surgeon explaining the importance of drawing, unfortunately it's not for the squeamish people as it does show surgical procedure and the doctor even demonstrates how he uses the patient's own blood to sketch after operating on them. If you can't handle that just cover your eyes for a few moments because the rest is well worth it. They show, in great detail, the drawings da Vinci did and how they helped with modern medicine. The doctor had this to say about drawing, "If you're not afraid of drawing it's a wonderful tool". Indeed.
The show covers a lot of other artists and their drawings/sketches but one that's a delight to see is Constable's sketchbooks. Graham-Dixon even travels to some of the places where these artists created their works which is pure eye candy for the viewer.
He described Turner's sketches as a means to an end. This is something, I think, more people should remember and practice.  Spending most of my time plein air painting I see so many who try it and give up because they think they need to walk away with a masterpiece. Also there are artists who refer to the end piece as a sketch. Well, if all of your final pieces look just like your sketches then what's the difference? One hundred percent I believe a sketch is simply a means to an end.
One of the comments he made about Turner that I found interesting was that he sketched EVERYTHING. Looking at his work it seems as though he actually did do that. So was Turner being like people today, the ones who walk around, with their cellphones held out in front of their faces, documenting everything? In a way it could feel like that but, for me, sketching definitely puts you more in the moment. You're actually observing your surroundings and soaking it all up.
The last bit I'll leave you with so you can actually watch the show, then come back and comment, is something George Shaw said, "If you don't find the world beautiful, that's your fault".  Even if you don't take the time to watch the show take a couple of moment to think about that. 

1 comment:

  1. That was a good one. Now I know that I'm in the Constable/Romantic tradition for the most part. Which means that, while I wholeheartedly agree with Shaw's statement, I'm nevertheless incapable of understanding how a person could move to the shoreline of Devon and draw public housing in the Midlands from photos!!?
    What you said about being in the moment rings true - Increasingly our awareness doesn't connect with the world directly anymore and drawing hooks you back in.

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