I recently came across this quote by Wassily Kandinsky, the Russian abstract expressionist painter (1866-1944):
Of all the arts, abstract painting is the most difficult. It demands that you know how to draw well, that you have a heightened sensitivity for composition and for colors, and that you be a true poet. This last is essential.
That made me think. Composition and colors, I do rather well. Am I a poet? Maybe. What about drawing? Never considered it. If I can make an analogy with music, drawing reminds me of Bach’s partitas, toccatas, preludes and fugues: precise, linear, cerebral. As a piano student I refused to play him (I was lucky to have a teacher who indulged my eclectic taste). You cannot make a mistake and get away with it when you play Bach. But with Gershwin, Prokofiev, Ravel, missed chords are opportunities for pianists to replace, maybe even “improve” on the original notation and to do so with a flourish.
I have decided to take Wassily’s statement about drawing seriously. Over the next few weeks I will learn how to draw well. I am gathering materials relevant to my course of study, including the book by Betty Edwards, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, #2 pencils, two viewfinders, several erasers, paper, a sharpener, a mirror. I am starting from scratch, even though years ago I did some of the exercises in the book (fascinating stuff, especially the upside-down horse).
Meanwhile, here is a sampling of my latest paintings.