Some time before I received the motivational "10% talent/90% practice" talk from my Aunt Olive (who, along with my long-lost cousin Craig are long-believed to have received the majority of the artistic talent in the family), and after I received the paints from Theresa, Diana and I were wandering around in the Curry’s on Queen West. I was whining about how I wanted to paint but couldn’t draw. One of the creative looking employees (I vividly remember her green eyes which were rimmed in brilliant pink eyeshadow) interrupted and told me that there was no reason you needed to know how to draw in order to paint. That she painted but couldn’t draw to save her life.
Her words have always stuck with me, and eventually I enrolled in a painting class. The first night was devoted to drawing as we had not yet received our supply list and hadn’t purchased any paints. As Constantine walked around loudly berating our poorly drawn still lifes I really struggled to remember her encouragement. In the ensuing classes, however, it became clear that Constantine had a similar ethos regarding drawing. He encouraged us to practice drawing, but he certainly preferred us to show up to class with a painting that we had been working on at home.
It’s comforting to know that painting can be accomplished without mad drawing skills. Basic shapes and paint manipulation can take a canvas surprisingly long way. I’ve even managed some okay paintings based on this theory. Yet, it is unsatisfying to have to repaint a figure ten thousand times before the proportions are correct. So, while drawing is not necessarily a prerequisite of painting, I think it’s an undeniable fact that painting can be improved by improved drawing.
I have a nine week series of drawing classes beginning tonight and I am terrified. My head likes to say, "I really suck at drawing!" I think my head is mostly correct so over the last week and a half, to build my confidence, I practiced drawing my teapot and some pears that were in the fridge. Despite my mixed results, "suck" might be slightly too harsh.
I am still a little nervious, but I think as long as I’m not the dorkiest kid in class I’ll probably be alright.