I am doing The Sketchbook Project theme of Winter, and since now is not the time to be drawing outdoors, I took photos around my neighborhood, then went searching for more variety on Google and came across the ice-skating couples. Two couples embracing on the ice. That is what one sees first. Two couples in love. The one on the left is colored pencils with pen and ink; the one on the right is a watercolor. It was only after I started grappling with the drawing of these subjects themselves that I began to notice other things.
At the beginning of each drawing my focus was only on getting the positions right. The relationship of each form, and then the two forms together. I saw them in broad terms, two couples on ice-skates embracing. It was only after I finished the sketches that I started reading between the lines, wondering what each drawing was saying about the couples themselves. And then I realized that reading my drawing was really no different from reading the physical world in general. But because I’d had to study these couples in order to draw them, it wasn’t a big jump to catch sight of a deeper reality than what first caught my eye.
Look at the couple on the left, how he has swept her into his arms, unbalancing her. She capitulates. It’s a dance between them. We see how comfortable they are with one another. Neither seems like a novice on the ice. Her skates are white and I assume her own, as rental skates are normally a dark color.
The couple on the right have certainly rented their skates. They are not expert skaters, and perhaps have never even skated before. They might be holding onto each other for balance so they don’t fall down.
At first I only saw the obvious: two couples embracing on the ice. But drawing, coloring, painting—these contributed to personalizing the figures, causing me to ponder their relationship to each other. I did this through following the lines of movement between them, following the lines of energy, then noticing the feeling of the lines.
This to me is the beauty of drawing; feeling how the world outside of me feels. It isn’t enough for me to know how I feel. I want to know what the world feels like. When I draw the outer world—whatever the subject—I am taking that bit of it inside of me. It’s an intuitive process. I don’t think about it, it happens automatically. Whatever comes from my hand is an expression of my own energy, my own feeling. The outer world of form passes through my brain, and if I take the trouble to draw that world, I see my reaction to it in the drawing. My perception of what it feels like.
Drawing makes me constantly aware of how little I see, how little I notice at first. How often I get things wrong. Placement wrong, size wrong, position wrong. So I work and rework a drawing to get it right. Maybe what is right for the drawing isn’t an exact copy of a photo—but it’s right for the drawing. My preference is not to distort in any way, only to see what I am seeing. And then to know its energy body through my own energy body.