Today, when the art materials industry and art instruction world have hugely increased in size, everyone can easily turn to art, either to create or to support its creation. The statistics abound to show what a beneficial multiplier factor the arts are to an area's economy, and the arts are viewed very positively.
It is, however, still, a rather solitary occupation to be an artist. No matter what the discipline, it remains a discipline requiring a person ultimately to produce something. In painting or drawing, for instance, it is mostly the artist's passion which will keep the creation going. In that dedication to creating a work, there is a lot that goes on "behind the scenes". When I conceive of a drawing or painting, there are initially decisions as to the medium (silverpoint drawing or graphite, for instance, or watercolours or acrylics), the format (horizontal or vertical, large or small), or is it going to be one piece or one in a series. Once those basic choices are made, there are then the decisions as to how to convey the concept, what to say, how to say it, why is it important?
Studies and exploratory drawings help the preparation. And it is at that stage, often, that the essence of the idea - the essence of a person's character for a portrait, or the spirit of the land in a landscape, for example - becomes paramount. What is "hidden from our sense of sight", as art consultant and author Roger H. Boulet wrote on draughtswoman Ann Kipling of British Columbia, is something that each artist needs to tap into, albeit often unconsciously. Paula Rego (see my blog entry of April 1st) was talking of tapping into this when she talked of the excitement of a voyage into the unknown each time she starts drawing. Intensity of observation, vitality of expression, a willingness to push through to evoke life itself - those are pathways to creation that each artist travels willingly, knowing they are important. And each of us, as artists, recognises that those journeys are lonely but rewarding.