Warts And All

11 Oct

HopeI’m working part-time for a charity, running arts sessions for people who have housing problems. Some of the people who come along are experienced artists and enjoy a few hours in a warm, safe place to get absorbed in their art. But some have very little experience of making art and I often hear, “Oh no. I can’t draw” and panic when I get out a bit of paper. It’s a pity that this is ingrained into so many adults – children are usually much more willing to have a go. I think that one of the reasons that people are so fearful of drawing is because they think it’s innate, god-given, a born talent rather than years and years of practice and striving.

I think that we artists have become disassociated from our craft. People see perfectly formed artworks in tasteful frames on pristine gallery walls and it’s easy to buy into the idea that these magnificent objects spring forth from a bottomless pool of artistic genius. WRONG! They’re the result of blood, sweat and tears …. and endless mistakes …. and frustration! That’s one of the reasons I do a lot of art in public, en plein air, in streets, shop windows, anywhere that people can see art being made … warts and all.

Banner 1

When someone said to me today that they couldn’t draw, I said, “It’s not drawing, it’s writing”. That made it better. I asked the people I’m working with to think of one positive word, then write it down, then start playing with different ways of making the letters, colouring them, adding patterns. Then we redrew our words onto a roll of primed canvas and started painting a banner.

I work alongside them so they can see my mistakes and the bits that are rubbish and hopefully understand that making a drawing or painting is a process that starts small and builds and builds over time into a finished piece ….. and that they shouldn’t judge themselves so harshly. More next week…..



A lot of my artwork is available on my Artfinder gallery.  If you’d like to have a look, please click on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

4 Responses to “Warts And All”

  1. Alli Farkas October 12, 2017 at 18:41 #

    I get the same comments when I’m at horse shows or art fairs working in my booth. They’ll watch me paint and tell me what a “gift” I have and that they “can’t draw”. I then show them some of my pathetic drawings from age 5 onward that I keep in my portfolio…just to get the idea across that everybody had to start somewhere. As for the “can’t draw” idea, I tell them that they perhaps weren’t motivated to work at it in the first place. I would love to be a ballerina, but have no interest in devoting the work necessary to achieve it. It’s 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration…

    As for the difference between adults and children relating to their willingness to just sit down and draw something, I think it has something to do with the fact that around age 10 or so, most of us realize that what we are drawing doesn’t look realistic. Then we ourselves or some not-so-helpful other person criticizes it and then it’s “game over” for us. The ones who can break through this little revelation and just keep on creating what makes them happy are the ones who continue on making art as long as they can manipulate the tools necessary to do it. Then there are the lucky few who are born rule-breakers and don’t give a flying fart what the rest of the world thinks of their artistic efforts!

  2. cornishboxer2 October 12, 2017 at 04:41 #

    Interesting work you are doing Rosie. Fascinating that the notion of writing is easier to face for some than drawing. I like your point about disassociation of artists. Working as you do helps counter this. Thank you.

    • Rosie Scribblah October 15, 2017 at 07:21 #

      Thank you, Patrick. I often use text or doodling when I work with people who don’t think they’re arty. I’m doing another public printmaking event next weekend. Hope it doesn’t rain, always a problem in this part of the world.

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