|12/28/11, Copic Multiliner SP pen, watercolor|
I’ve come to realize that those still lifes weren’t inherently boring or uninspiring. I was the one who was bored and uninspired because I was looking at them from the outside – an arrangement of commonplace, meaningless stuff that looks similar to commonplace, meaningless stuff I’ve seen before. To draw a still life successfully (and I define success as finishing the task while remaining fully engaged), I have to look at it from the inside.
Imagine you are a worm inside a banana. You can’t really know the shape, consistency or color of that banana until you crawl around for a while. And if you were really a worm, you wouldn’t even be identifying that object as banana. It’s just the three-dimensional space around you with a particular form, color and texture. If I look at any object with a crawling-around attitude, it becomes something to visually explore (line line line curving line dark spot) rather than identify with a label (bananas on the counter = boring and uninspiring). And the magical part about visually crawling around is that the banana I’m drawing no longer looks like every other banana I’ve seen (or tried to draw before). It becomes a unique collection of specific lines, shapes and shadows, and suddenly I’m fully engaged.