Drawing is the Mother of All Visual Arts



I sit in the El. I look at the man in the seat across the aisle. I see lines, mass… shadows. He leaves at the next station. A young women takes his seat. I watch, but from the reflection in the window. I don’t want her to think I’m leering at her.

It’s what I do when I’m drawing—working intensely at learning, doing studies from photos, coming back from figure drawing classes at Fleishers.

It becomes a mode of seeing. Seeing. Not representation. Seeing, and process. Like Chinese brush work.

Though most of my finished work is abstract, I think of drawing as the mother of all visual art. Nothing else schools you, trains you—molds your very brain to a way of SEEING… to an attention to vision, like drawing. Nothing.

I’m getting better. I’ve said this before. It’s an obsession with me. How 40 years ago or more, I gave up on being a visual artist. Because, I thought… I couldn’t draw. Not well enough. Not with the apparent ease of my mother, my uncle. I thought it was.. just ‘talent.’… and I didn’t have it.

I didn’t understand.. it was about work. Practice. Drawing bones. Learning anatomy. and just drawing… everything.

Looking back—I had the “talent” thing. But talent.. whatever the fuck that is, might be the difference between commercial skill, and “art”… whatever the fuck that is… but there’s no way to avoid the work. A musician… you have to train your fingers, your voice, learn scales—even if you don’t know the words for music theory.

I do constructions. From found objects. Nothing to do with drawing that you might imagine… but it does. It’s not different, but as one medium differs from another, as charcoal differs from pencil from pastel from pen and ink.. from paint.

Drawing is the mother of all the visual arts—because nothing, nothing so intensely trains the eye to attention, to see…. to see… to see

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