It’s almost a cliche to talk about children and art; from Picasso – “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” – to Hockney – “The urge to draw must be quite deep within us, because children love to do it.” But watching my son draw made me think again about that particular quality inherent in children’s drawings – freedom. Faced with a large sheet of paper and armed with a selection of felt-tip pens, my son will invariably begin by making marks. Sometimes he will tell me they are train tracks, or – as in the one below – music. But often they are just what they are – marks on a piece of paper.
I’ve been trying to get into drawing again, in particular drawing the body. And what I’ve found so far in my efforts is a wooden quality which is never evident in my son’s drawings. Of course he’s not trying to draw the human form, but somehow, I need to learn again that quality of drawing which is unencumbered by too much thinking, which is just what it is. This would prove particularly helpful in drawings I’m attempting of trees – in particular drawings based on the photographs I took recently at Shotover. At the moment they are just too rigid, and while trees are pretty rigid (and of course wooden!) they are nevertheless full of energy; they move inside and are moved by the wind. Branches bend when caught, move when released, and this potential needs to be expressed in the drawings I make.
Perhaps taking a leaf (no pun intended) out of my son’s book will help me achieve just that.