Let's Take Another Look at Drawing

Let's take another look at drawing.

Drawing develops the practice of observation,  at looking closely,  of really seeing what is around us.

When we draw,  we are entering data,  like names and numbers are entered into a computer,
except the computer is our "brain".

It is from these stored images and observations that we create our paintings
and make our visual symbols.

Drawing is easy.

Just look!
Fasten your eye upon the edge of whatever it is that you are observing and make a mark.
Do not look at your paper.
Look at the next part of the object you are viewing and make another mark.
Continue moving around the contour of your chosen subject making more lines.
You do not need to look at your paper because your hand will draw what your eye sees!

This is called "blind contour drawing".  This is drawing.
You are making a record of your observations,  it's kind of like recording music.

Drawing creates the habit of "intense seeing".

Thus these images are "input" or "entered" into our storage place,  (brain),  of images and memories.

Thus stored, they are able to be retrieved at will.  When we view old drawings,  all the images and memories associated with the sketches are also remembered.

When confronted with the task of drawing an image of a tree,  we can go to our memory of images that we have drawn of trees,  retrieve one and use it in our new work.

We know about trees because we have drawn real ones and the images are right there in our memory.

A pad of paper near us at lunch,  after dinner,  or in our car.  A small sketch book in our purse or pocket.  A few lines,  a shadow,  a note about what we are seeing.

All comes flooding back,  when we look at these small sketches,  crude they may be,  no matter.

The marks are a record of our input and of the images that are stored in our memory,  ready to use and share in our real authenic paintings.

As a bonus we begin to actually "see" the world around us!


Circles and Recycling

Circles of our life
of the day
other's circles intersecting with ours
circles of our painting life.

Our painting life exposes the circles of our life and reveals the fact that nothing is "really" new,
only recycled.

Our daily searches to paint the new and unique often results in older,  buried images simply
plowed up and brought to the surface again.

We are excited as we sit at our painting station to begin a new body of work.

"This is going to be my best work ever",  "I'm going to win a prize this time",
"I have some really good ideas for this series",  we muse.

So we begin,  we sketch,  we doodle,  and paint a few small things that satisfy us.

Something interrupts us,  and begin looking through our old stuff,  discarded paintings,  all buried in a pile in the corner.

What's this?  A forgotten painting shows itself.

We look at it amazed.  This is what I am doing today we realize!
Same subject, same basic idea.  Only put away,  and forgotten and just now resurfacing.

We realize that instead of creating a brand new idea we are simply reworking an old one!

It seems we develop a circle of painting ideas that revolve in our minds.
We revisit each periodically unknowingly in our consciousness.

These are our selves made visible in symbolic images.

Just which self will be revealed in our painting today?


Painting; Concepts and Ideas

A concept is like an "idea".
We spin these ideas in our daydreams and dreams.
Our thoughts center on a strongly felt idea and we mentally search for objects, lines and shapes
to express them.

These ideas propel the painting with a vibrancy and power.  Often it is something you want to communicate  but you can't do it just by painting a landscape, a figure or a still life.

In order to paint about these ideas and concepts one must create metaphors and symbols which represent them.
Some ideas are well expressed in abstractions using only colors, shapes, lines and values.

For instance, sadness and grief can be expressed by downward lines and sober colors.
Joy and happy by upward shapes and bright colors.

The shapes, colors and lines carry a meaning beyond them selves
and become the language of the artist.

One can search for actual forms to express ideas.

Some of my metaphors and symbols:

Waterfalls as a symbol of immersing, refreshing humanity.
Flowing water as spiritual cleansing.

Dancing symbolizing life and living.
Dresses as God's spirit covering our body

Cactus, symbol of a strong, stable and resilient person.
Ecosystems of botany and bilogy; structure of life forms.

Figures in waterfalls, the sea, trees; the interdependence of life.
Rainbows as good overpowering evil.

All the symbols and metaphors help to express the inexpressible and bring meaning one's creations.

Huge new and exciting vistas open anew to a painter who ventures into the realm of ideas!


The "How" "What" "Why" of Painting

Our act of painting progresses,  not only in technical accomplishment

but in the depth of it's meaning until it often becomes a profound statement

of universal and ineffable truths.

It can move from a simple copy of a natural or found object,

into the realm of "ideas" or of a "concept".

A new painter often sees the paintings they are making as hobby,  an interesting and challenging

pastime that they have longed to pursue after the stresses of family and jobs has lessened.

So we take classes,  go to critique groups and we practice.

We get better.

We have good teachers and we learn new and challenging techniques.

Finally we get to the place when we actually paint something we like!

What is it? A landscape,  a figure,  a still life arrangement of flowers,  an abstract?

And it is well done.

How do we go beyond this?

What then?

We can begin to paint an "idea" or a "concept".

We can begin to paint the "why".

An "idea" has no image,  but we can create metaphors;

visual symbols to express this  "idea or concept".

When we begin to paint an "idea or concept" the paintings become more purposeful and passionate.

Our marks communicate more meaning.

Our shapes become symbols infused with spiritual energy.

One's painting changes from a mere hobby to an actual and real statement to our world.

To view the paintings you make is to see,  revealed to all,

your unique,  personal and rare images,  which stand alone as YOU!

Simply amazing!

What a wonder to be YOU!!


Our Authentic Painting Language

We have been painting for years,  going along with whatever our group,  teacher, workshop leader is doing.

We try new things,  this and that,  and the latest painting fads.

One day,  perhaps quite unexpectedly,  we try something that goes well for us and we realize that;

"This is me. I am happy with this way of painting!  It feels natural and good when I make the marks,

 use the colors and draw the shapes."

You are now painting authentically.

You have, after all this time and experimentation reached the stage when you are painting "you"!

Not like your teacher, not like your best painting friends and not the latest painting fad.

You are painting "you"!

Painting authentically!

How long did it take you to reach this place where your marks,  your colors,  your shapes are a true

expression of you,  of your thoughts and dreams,  of your innermost being?

Perhaps it has taken a very long time,  years in fact.

A new vigor and enthusiasm becomes apparent as you work on your creations.

Now, when you paint,  each stroke,  each mark is like a handwritten signature.

Yours alone,  completely unique in this world of Billions!

Likewise, your paintings are yours alone,  reflecting you,  your interests and your environment.

Why would you want to paint any other way when you can be authentically YOU?

Webster's Dictionary:  Authentic;  genuine, veritable.  Being actually and percisely what is claimed. Not imaginary, false or imitation.



Overnight, tomorrow.

Let's look at our painting tomorrow.

Let's seen what the night brings.

What does the night bring?  Rest, dreams, a synthesis of the mental and physical activities of the day.

And a new light, a dim light; the early morning light.

Things look differently in the morning.

The shapes, colors revealing exactly "what" the painting is meaning.

What is the language of those shapes and colors?

Can you read it anew in the early morning light?

And what is it telling you today?

Hidden secrets, now revealed; the painting's symbolic language has been translated overnight by

one's own dreams, visions and subconscious!!

What a revelation!  Yesterday's insolvable problems can really be solved!

Ideas pile on top of one another!

A color here, a change of shape, more lines here, lighter on the top, darker on the side,

find some new references, redo this drawing!

One goes on painting day after day and the visual book and essay is written!


Recent Work

Bonnie's most recent work depicts organic themes such as this new painting below called: "CACTUS IN MY GARDEN III" which is 30"X 22" and was created by layering acrylic paints.

To view more of Bonnie's most recent pieces, please visit this page.