Welcome to MissouriBendStudio!

This is an online journal of my artistic investigations and a way to communicate about my work, ideas, quandries and queries! I welcome comments and conversation and do hope you enjoy these musings. My artwork is available in my shop MissouriBendStudio on Etsy.com or on my website.


Friday, November 18, 2016

On Drawing...Or, Drawing on Drawing

I've been thinking a lot about drawing lately, as it is central to my artistic practice. No matter what materials I am working with, I think of everything that I do as drawing. I also feel that, as a general rule, the definitions out there of what constitutes "drawing" are too limited. It is such an absolutely fundamental process, like breathing, that it becomes an integral part of the process of making, whether you are a painter, sculptor, mixed media artist....or almost anything else. I'm certainly not a singer, but anyone who is a singer knows that breathing is a central to being able to sing well. Understanding the breath is fundamental for singing, dancing....so many things, and a connection to drawing (broadly defined!) is central to the process of creation.

I feel very strongly that each person possesses a core of creativity, though in our culture, almost everyone I talk to who is not an artist, doesn't believe they have it within them, which fills me with a kind of sadness. I believe creativity is part of our humanity and despite what our years of schooling have done to us, it's still there. It is this passion about creativity that has gotten me thinking about drawing.

In all my decades of being an artist, it has never occurred to me that I was a teacher or that I was interested in teaching, but these ideas I have about creativity have, for the first time, gotten me thinking about doing workshops. Each of us has an inner language, a way of mark-making, that is unique, like a fingerprint. Drawing, it seems to me, is fundamental to connecting to that inner core of creativity and being able to "draw" from within.

Below is the Merriam-Webster definition of drawing:

Simple Definition of drawing

  • : a picture, image, etc., that is made by making lines on a surface with a pencil, pen, marker, chalk, etc., but usually not with paint
  • : the act or art of making a picture, image, etc., with pencil, pen, marker, chalk, etc., but usually not with paint
: an act of choosing something (such as a winning ticket) from a group without knowing which one you are choosing
That seems pretty limited to me. "Not with paint"... I'm not buying that. I haven't yet come up with a satisfying definition of my own, but the one above doesn't capture it at all. The process of making with the hand is essential.....there is a flow from the senses, through the brain, back through the hand that is part of drawing. The body is part of drawing. Going back to my metaphor of the breath....we understand that breathing is a process that involves quite a bit more than the nose or the mouth. So, while I cogitate further on a suitable definition of drawing, I'll spend the next few posts sharing a few images from some of my favorite artists, whose works seem to me to be based in drawing.
The pieces below are paintings by Rick Johns, a painter from here in Vermillion, South Dakota. Rick is a fine painter, but also a fine craftsman builder....of houses, kayaks, you name it. These paintings have a wonderfully layered surface and a sensitivity to mark making that leaves a trace of the search. I love them....yes, they are paintings, but these are also drawings, according to my still nebulous definition.
No. 21

No. 43

So, I will continue to cogitate about this teaching idea and how I can create a workshop that will connect people to their inner language, allowing them to discover the richness within. It's important, because the process of making is fundamental to our humanity. 
Here in South Dakota, we've just had our first snow of the season....yikes, we were all caught off guard, having enjoyed more than our share of a perfectly lovely autumn. And now, here's to a perfectly lovely winter! Enjoy your weekend.


  1. i agree about drawing...and its importance for us. it's a visceral thing, like writing by hand but also has the luxury (if that's the right word) of allowing us to create a deeply personal visual vocabulary beyond words and alphabet letters

    1. Yes, you've said it quite eloquently....I couldn't agree more! Great to hear from you, India! Cheers!


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