In a previous post Why Draw? I discussed all the practical ways in which drawing can make you a better landscape painter—encouraging editing and design of elements in your scene, sensitivity to perspective and other drawing issues of scale and proportion, and as a means of simplification.
And while these things are reason enough to make drawing part of your process as a landscape painter, there is one thing more that, in my opinion, is the most important. As landscape painters, particularly when working outdoors directly from nature, we often feel rushed to “get a painting” or “capture the light”. Conditions are changing and that creates both a challenge and a roadblock to getting more in tune with our motif—to experience it rather than simply look at it as a scene to be painted. There is an enormous difference between those two things. If you are looking for a way to get more authenticity, more of you into your landscape paintings, drawing can make it happen.
Too often we think of drawing (if we think of it at all) as a preparatory step to the real work of depicting the landscape. If we think rather of drawing as an exploration, of our materials and methods, but also of the experience of being in the landscape and how we can get that into our drawings — without the pressure of picture making– our connection to what we see and what we feel about it becomes clearer and a natural part of our mark making. Drawing allows the time that is necessary for this to happen. As David Hockney said “Drawing takes time. A line has time in it.” It is this quality of slowing down, deep looking, and mark making that eventually can lead us to a more authentic expression in our paintings.
P.S. If you want more of YOU in your landscape paintings, join us for Drawing the Landscape, a six week online class on methods and materials and drawing as exploration. Class starts April 1st! Join us!