The Drawing: A Journey of Visual Exploration and Enjoyment
What is Drawing about?
Drawing: A graphic process that depicts or represents figures and forms on a surface by using either pencil, pen or marker to produce points, lines, tones textures, etc., that illustrates an image. Drawing can express and represent ideas in numerous ways, and is considered to be an important mode of communicating thoughts, ideas and impressions.
Why do I draw?
I draw because I enjoy it. Drawing can be tremendously satisfying to me – when I’m “on”, it is a kind of meditation to me, relaxing and enjoyable.
Both the “act” of doing the drawing, and looking at the end result gives me much pleasure.
I’ve spent most of my past 27 years living in Asia, and for all that time I’ve been an active sketcher of my surroundings. Drawing has always been a major part of my life – I feel inspired when I draw.
Nowadays, I do almost all my own sketching “live” on site. I find that the drawings subject I’m most attracted to are subjects that “tell a story”. They are those objects and architecture from an earlier era that are now in decline and worn. With an intriguing tarnish (“patina”) caused by weathering and neglect. Through my artist’s eyes, these buildings seem to become more beautiful with age and decay.
Wabi-Sabi is the quintessential Japanese aesthetic that I see in some of the subjects that I draw. It is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest and humble. It is a beauty of things unconventional.
Many of the classic structures from Penang’s rich history still stand, but they are endangered by encroaching “modern progress”. In my drawings, I want to record these buildings before they are demolished and lost forever.
Sometimes, when I’m drawing an old crumbling Malaysian mansion, I become so lost in thought, that I can almost “hear” the tales from a time when the mansion was the centre of some family’s life. Now, the walls, mould-stained, scarred and broken, stare down at me, awaiting their last days before razing.
A Teacher of Drawing.
As most of you readers know, I’ve been teaching drawing and various “hands-on”art courses to Han Chiang University College students for the past four years. As a lecturer of drawing and design, I try to make my classes enjoyable and interesting – creative results happen when students feel inspired and have pride in their work. Even after 25 years of teaching, I’m still excited to see my students’ imaginative and creative finished works in the classroom.
In my drawing classes at Han Chiang, I try to pass on not only the drawing skills to students, but also to inspire them to “see” their drawing subject in a new way. As many “live sketch” artists say: it’s about observation – drawing makes one study the subject closer, and you understand more about it.
Drawing is an intuitive ability; it can be learned, but the artist has to be aware of their surroundings, whether it is in the urban environment or nature. The artist has to be open to “visually exploring” what is around them. It takes concentration and practice, but the rewards are high.
Buz Walker-Teach – May 2022