Learning to See – Clearly…

A year or so ago, thanks to some recommendations from some of my “creative” friends (some I’ve met, some I haven’t yet!), I picked up Betty Edwards’s classic The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. It’s been sitting on my shelf (in Dewey decimal order, though!) for that whole time.

Now I’ve got to tell you, I had an artistic bypass at birth, along with a mechanical bypass, too! I have trouble with paint-by-numbers. Heck, I have major issues writing legibly! But I started reading through the book, and now I’m hooked! Sounds like a great after-Easter project…learning to draw. A little, at least.

Here are some of the fascinating things I’ve learned already…

Drawing is made up of component skills that become integrated into a whole skill. Like riding a bike or driving or a golf swing. It can be learned. (Thank goodness, there may be hope even for me!)

There are 5 basic skills (“You know, like nunchuck skills, bowhunting skills, computer hacking skills…Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills.”) involved in drawing: the perception of edges, the perception of spaces, the perception of relationships, the perception of lights and shadows, and the perception of the whole (gestalt…ooh, I feel smarter and more creative already…I said gestalt!) Betty Edwards goes on to say that there are two additional skills: drawing from memory and drawing from imagination.

The cool part of the book so far has been the quotes in the margins. They have a lot to say about seeing and vision, essential skills for anyone in leadership in any endeavor. That’s what I’m hoping to really accomplish from learning to draw – to see more correctly.

Indulge me my love of quotes…

Learning to draw is really a matter of learning to see – to see correctly – and that means a good deal more than merely looking with the eye. -Kimon Nicolaides

The painter draws with his eyes, not with his hands. Whatever he sees, if he sees it clear, he can put down. The putting of it down requires, perhaps, much care and labor, but no more muscular agility than it takes for him to write his name. Seeing clear is the important thing. -Maurice Grosser

Drawing is the discipline by which I constantly rediscover the world.

I have learned that what I have not drawn, I have never really seen, and that when I start drawing and ordinary thing, I realize how extraordinary it is, sheer miracle. -Frederick Franck

When the artist is alive in any person, whatever his kind of work may be, he becomes an inventive, searching, daring, self-expressive creature. He becomes interesting to other people. He disturbs, upsets, enlightens, and opens ways for a better understanding. Where those who are not artists are trying to close the book, he opens it and shows there are still more pages possible. -Robert Henri