Pondering Andrew Wyeth

If you don’t back up your dreams with truth, you have a very round-shouldered art.

—Andrew Wyeth

(I’m hesitant to be throwing quotes around like an irritated monkey and his poop, but since I don’t quote people that often, I hope this doesn’t seem too cheesy.)

About a month ago I began trying to get my drawing skills back into shape in earnest. It’s really been about seven years since I’ve been able to focus on making artwork at all, and it’s been frustrating trying to get back into proverbial shape. It’s primarily been the passage of time from when I was young and full of youthful ambition to the cranky, old man that I am currently. I feel like it’s been seven years of wasted opportunity.

What can you do, though? Lost time is lost time.

I’ve come to accept that I am, for the time being, a student, and that I need to approach the whole business from the ground up. I’ve been looking back on things that made an impression on me in one way or another from when I was a youngin’ back in school, and one thing that has been bouncing around the back of mind for over a decade was reading about about Andrew Wyeth was taught how to draw by his father, the great Brandywine Illustrator, N.C. Wyeth.

I can’t seem to find the exact quote online, but basically the Wyeth children were taught in a fairly academic manner, drawing from plaster casts and simple still-lifes until their draftsmanship was up to snuff according to their father’s standards. Andrew’s instruction was a little different in that N.C., instead of having him draw from the casts, gave him a prop pistol to draw in order to keep his interests up. The bit that really stuck with me was that he drew nothing but that pistol for a half a year.

I ask myself every now and again, do I have the dedication to do what it takes to even attempt to be the draftsman that I wish I were? To try to answer that, I’ve taken it upon myself to be a bit of a masochist and restrict myself, for at least a month, to drawing a single item from life (which is why I haven’t been posting that much lately—who wants to see 300 drawings of a playstation controller?)

I’m about two weeks into this little exercise, and while I’m not happy with the “end products”, I feel like the whole process of drawing is becoming a little more fluid despite that basic flaws that students tend to have in their drawings.