Monday, December 17, 2007

on Coloring and Drawing

The little-big man is sleeping and his sister is off riding horses with friends so I am taking this rare quiet moment in the middle of the day to finally share my observations on coloring. The theme has nagged the back of my mind for nearly five months now as the act of enlivening black and white pictures has again moved into a prominent position on the list of how I spend my time. Whenever I begin a picture I am laughingly reminded of how similar my style of filling in the white spaces is to how I live my life: very much between the lines. Whenever I begin a new section I carefully trace a broad line right next to the black to give myself a margin of error. I remember my older sister doing this when I was very young, although she did it for decorative purposes with the border being a dark line, and the enclosed area a tempered hue of the same. I do it so that I can fill the rest in quickly and not go outside the lines. I think that is why drawing has always been so difficult and so fascinating to me. There are no lines to begin with. You have to do all of your own thinking and most of all you must learn through experience where the lines fall to the best advantage. No wonder I find coloring so dull and drawing so frustrating. The one has little life in it while the other is a perpetual challenge. This is the time of my life that I am learning to draw. My pictures are often messy, beautiful only by chance or abstraction, yet every line I can claim as my own. That is the joy and the pain of artistry.


Marianne Elixir said...

Thanks for sharing great pondering. Sarah and I had the same coloring strategy as children! Perhaps that's an eldest child thing. But I do completely understand your frustrations with drawing. I so want to be able to draw, and the best I have come up with so far is the ability to sketch somewhat.
You should post some pictures of your artistry =) The stuff inside of lines and the lines you have invented yourself.

Anonymous said...

I love this analogy. On a literal level, one of my college art teachers (and a friend) would never get her grade school daughter a coloring book, because of the way you stay inside the lines. On a metaphorical level, it's so true that we can accept proscribed boundaries, unthinking, because it's easy... or throw all form and order out, in frustration, in a scribble without sense or meaning.


meg said...

i agree with Marianne, I want to see some of your artistry.