The other day, a young woman came into our gallery to ask about drawing lessons. We talked her through the format of our classes and how our style of teaching developed through seeing how quickly it brings about results. As we chatted she was looking at our art work and seemed especially taken by a drawing of the old penitentiary on Île Saint-Joseph, one of the trio of islands that make up Iles du Salut (the film, Papillon made Devil’s Island famous). The drawing is called BACK TO NATURE, it measures 35 x 50 cm and is executed in pencil.
“I want to learn to draw like this,” she said. She gazed at the picture, went forward to look at it up close and then added, “How long did it take?”
And that is the thing about art; how long indeed! No matter how early or late one learns the techniques: practical skills in the use of media, line, colour, shape, texture, perspective etc., it is our lives that shape what we create, our experiences that define our art, as well as our characters that form what we produce.
There is no doubt that BACK TO NATURE would never had been made if we had not visited the old penitentiary on Île Saint-Joseph. And we would not have visited those Salvation Islands if we had not built a boat to sail across the oceans. And every event links to a preceding one and that’s why artists know that it takes our whole lives to produce each work.
Of course, we could not tell that to the young woman with the urge to learn to draw. We said that once you know what to do it doesn’t take long. And we said that learning to draw is like learning anything else … acquire skills, add practice and express in your own way. It takes only the first step.
She committed to that first step and we will enjoy welcoming her to our studio next week … and continuing our journey of learning to know what to do.