Drawing on Location

I’m reposting something from early 2010 that is no longer on my Facebook page…

Drawing from a photograph is very much different from drawing on location, from direct observation. A photograph captures a moment in time and reflects the processing that flattens out three-dimensional data onto a two-dimensional surface. Drawing on location takes longer to execute and involves our senses, especially that of active seeing. And like a conversation, we do not know precisely where the drawing process will lead. Even though we may have an objective in mind when we begin to draw, the sketch itself takes on a life of its own as it evolves on paper and we have to be open to the possibilities the emerging image suggests.

To illustrate, here are three drawings of the Pantheon in Rome. On almost everyone’s favorites list, the Pantheon is difficult to pass by without stopping to admire it, both from within and from the Piazza della Rotonda. The drawings, done in 2000 and 2003 illustrate similar viewpoints but different approaches to the same subject portrayed in the photo.