About Drawing

posted in: All, Art Lessons, Newest, Work in Progress | 12

I sat cross legged on the studio floor surrounded by drawings.

Whenever I begin a new cycle of work, I sort through the “stacks” to check in on current pursuits, search for inspiration, and revisit the good old days. While reviewing hundreds of drawings, it suddenly hit me just how profoundly these works on paper represent the creative process in all its glory—and messiness. So much more than images, sketches reveal an ongoing search for content and meaning; they provide clues as to state of mind and times of day. Themes emerge: places, hair curlers, temples, water bottles, small buildings, my own reflection. Artistic breadcrumbs.


There are many reasons to draw. We may want to understand how something is put together. We may design a garden. We study anatomy, architecture, plant life. Sometimes drawing is an exploration of formal elements: line, shape, and color. Drawing can be specific or simply a suggestion. A question is always involved. But what I appreciate most is how the act of drawing requires the artist to quiet the mind, to focus on the task, and in doing so learn some small thing.


If a painting is a polished speech, then drawings are the building blocks of words and phrases. They are questions asked and answers given. They fumble for meaning and seek beauty, show evidence of many small decisions, resolutions, and conclusions. Drawings are the physical manifestation of an inquisitive mind and the desire to create order out of chaos.


Studio notes: sorting the drawings

-old ideas reborn
-set aside for later
-emerging themes

-what inspires me
-to finish
-to paint
-to teach others
-something to teach me. some little clue
-the odd man out

-for blog (represents an idea)

is this good? is this bad? neither/both? Why?


12 Responses

  1. Jessica Kovan

    I love your insights! Thank you Amy. This sentence: “If a painting is a polished speech, then drawings are the building blocks of words and phrases.” Perfect. 🙂

  2. Dee Ritchie

    Summer’s coming to an end and autumn projects are calling me to my studio. Thank you once again, Amy, for the inspiration! I’m going to spread all my old stuff and see if any of it is going anywhere (or maybe where it’s been!)… Hugs! 😀

  3. Gigi Godfrey

    I wish my paintings were polished speeches…for sure everything is a question. I appreciate you always sharing your insights Amy. A truly gifted teacher.
    Thank you.

  4. Jennifer Waldron

    “Artistic breadcrumbs…” I like that phrase. Get’s me thinking about what are my artistic breadcrumbs. Just the other day I looked at all my sketchbooks and thought about going through them for inspiration. You’ve convinced me in this blog to do so. Love all you do and share, Amy!!

  5. Dawn Watson

    You are fabulous! I’m so thankful that your creations adorn the covers of my books! I get so many compliments on them! Thanks for all you do!

  6. Sandra Wright

    This is a beautiful testament into the act of drawing ,sketching, and stretching the mind creatively. Plus a task to give one a bit of grounding for take offs, follow ups into other offshoots. I hope to get into drawing again when I get back. See you soon and happy birthday coming up!.

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