Saturday, May 17, 2014

Slow Looking (the practice of not making)

There is a lot to be said for “Practice Makes Perfect” but how often do we practice not doing things and just observe?

As an obsessive maker of things I am also enamored with slow observation.  This will sometimes cause me to put down all of the tools of making.  I see this in my drawing practice as I experiment with slow and fast drawing.  It is easier for me to get to the root of my motivations when I simplify the tools as I do with drawing.  Currently, my two subjects are weekly sessions with a live model posing between 1- 5 minutes poses and  landscape drawing.

A slow contour drawing from one of my recent drawing sessions

The challenge of being engaged in fast poses for 3 hours is to remember to slow down.    I tend to ride the wave of a series of fast drawing before I hit the brakes and commit to a very slow contour line.  This practice seems to fill the slow line with the energy and observation of everything that just happened in the previous set of fast drawings.

A slow pencil drawing while out on a drive

Driving out to the, larger than life, landscapes around New Mexico and attempting to render that experience in pencil marks on a page in my lap sometimes strike me as a ridiculously impossible task.  I often find myself slowing down the drawing until I just stop and look.  And than I think, it is finished as soon as I start looking and before I start drawing.  There is nothing to do here but look.  

As artists are makers, here is to honoring the practice of doing nothing but slow looking.  

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