Drawing is a second form of intelligence. The whole world likes to read it but so few give themselves the opportunity to “write” it. It does not depend so much on talent as it does on practice, perception and creative confidence. I have always thought best with a pencil in my hand, or as my students are apt to tease me, over my ear. I have always believed that, although ,technique comes from the hand down, ART emanates from the heart and brain and is expressed through technique.
It is a great challenge to listen to the potential of the white paper and not be foolish enough to try to dominate it mindlessly with marks. Although I think that every mark made should be put down as though one means it to be there, it is equally important to listen to the voice of the virgin paper and give it a chance.
My drawings were what first distinguished my efforts in art. From the 1970s through the late 1990’s, my work was almost exclusively pencil. Although highly realistic, it was, at the same time, mysterious with heavy darks, blended edges and vaporous whites. The compositions were almost abstract yet the renderings seemed so realistic…
During the many years that I coached, my athletes became the subjects of my art. My interest was not so much in the play time or the typical spurts of movements inherent in each sport but rather in either the pre game minutes of warm up and nerves, of concentration and drive or the post game cool down where one look at the body language told you the score. I became known for series of drawings portraying soccer players stretching, swimmers and divers psyching themselves up, tennis and lacrosse players exhausted, field hockey girls with rubber legs, wrestlers sweating to make weight and so on. Each was almost photographic yet each had a quiet and introspective deeper meaning within a typically asymmetrical composition and strong battles between lights and darks.
Yearly, I would take a break from these athletic themed drawings and create a Christmas Card design that generally harkened back to my youth and honored a tradition that my mom or dad started. I never seemed to run out of memories. So personal in inception, they often required explanation on the back and I began to write a short essay to accompany them. As the years went by and I got married and began a family, my drawings as well as my Christmas Card designs began to spring from my own children’s milestones and encounters, rather than from my own as a child.
I still love drawing, its raw power and simplicity. There is something about the potential of a single pencil that belies its small size and inexpense. There is something so satisfying about recording in image form, rather than just words, one’s life. When I look at slides in order, I feel all the reasons I drew each picture swirling around my heart and my head. Drawing is art at its purest, away from all the bells and whistles…