Monday, May 5, 2008

Drawing the Line

I absolutely love to look at drawings because I love line work.

It is so difficult to make what I consider to be a true line, one that is not scrawled without attention – a fly away - and one that is not made with pretentious deliberation – a hip line, we could say.

What I look for in a line is a concentration that’s not too tight, not too loose. When I draw, I try – although try is really the wrong word – to keep my mind in the back seat, where it can watch the hand go, but not go haywire.

When I step back from a drawing, I can tell when the line is present or not on the page, a reflection, really, if I was present or not at the time. But sometimes the most present lines happen when I’m thinking about how much I hate when she said that, or when I’m wondering if it’s too early for lunch.

Sometimes you can give the impression of a true line through what I could grandiosely call expressionistic posturing. This is usually accomplished through the misuse of tools like partial erasing, texture, feathery back and forth, or pushing down really hard. The misuse is that they’re exploited as an effect. But, if you look, they’re just masking bad drawing.

I’m currently working on a series of drawings that uses text as form (I don’t mean writing the word “tree” in the shape of one, but more on this another time) and I’m running in to all these pitfalls, problems that I saw in the drawings that I posted and then un-posted last week.

My drawing hero is Philip Guston, of course. A show of his drawings are on view at the Morgan Library through August 31.

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