Drawing loosely is good

Experimental #16a

I don’t do tight rendering very well. Never did. Never will. So what! I have found that the best approach is to do what you can do and do it the best you can. One of my favorite instructors at Art Students League in New York once mentioned that Rembrandt was a “sloppy painter.” He meant it as a serious compliment. Rather than copy in exacting detail what he saw precisely, Mr. Van Rijn conveyed what he wanted to convey with a loosely drawn line or paint stroke and the result was more precise and convincing than any carefully drawn rendering. In referencing Rembrandt, I am pleased to say that this instructor was also complimenting me for being loose and sloppy in my own way. Not that there is anything wrong with being precise and tight. It’s just that it is less fun and a little defensive, just the way some people are tightly controlled in how they present themselves to others. The one thing that I always liked the most about that instructor is his ability to spot and encourage a student’s strengths while also making cogent technical criticism. He taught drawing and anatomy and knew his stuff technically but his real focus was on encouraging renderings that convey what is intended to be conveyed in a convincing manner. The very loose sketch above is of a man in a medical waiting room. It was done from memory using Corel’s Painter 12 painting program. At its core, it is a bunch of scribbles but then I attended the same school as Pollock, Krasner, Rothko, Eva Hesse and Sendak.

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