Tuesday, March 1, 2011

"... but I don't know a thing about art."

Trail Drive-In, mixed media on paper, 5.5 x 7.5", by Tracie Thompson.
The other day I happened upon something I'd never expected from Roger Ebert (yes, that Roger Ebert):

You can draw, and probably better than I can

I didn't know Ebert drew, but it turns out that he does, and I have so much love for the way he presents this as something to be done for the joy of it, for the process more than the product.

If you've ever thought, "Oh, I wish," and gazed longingly at a store shelf with sketch books, pencils, watercolors ... well, why not? It costs very little. Nobody else has to see or judge. And you might spark something in yourself that you didn't even know you possessed -- a sense of immediate wonder, a sharpness of memory, an awareness that's worth a lot more than the drawings themselves.

For those who've wondered how professional artists feel about people who draw, paint, etc. for their own pleasure, this is the best take on it I've seen, and you'll note several pro artists in agreement, in the comments.  My experience is that we pros do not want the sandbox all to ourselves, not at all. It's so much more fun when the other kids come and play, too.


  1. This is awesome, I am totally and shamelessly reposting. Also I miss the trail drive in.

  2. Isn't that a great post? So much love.

    I'm glad you're sharing it.

  3. Thomas WintersteinMarch 23, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    Tracie, have you read "Painting as a Pastime" by Winston Churchill? Mr. Churchill discovered painting when he was 40 and the book is a description of the joy that it brought him in a trying time. He says that if we begin painting late in life then we must begin with Audacity because we do not have time to spend years learning how to paint and that we must not be critical of our efforts but just plunge in and do it. He says "Painting is a companion with whom one may hope to walk a great part of life's journey ... painting is a a friend who makes no undue demands, excites to no exhausting pursuits, keeps faithful pace even with feeble steps, and holds her canvas as a screen between us and the envious eyes of Time or the surly advance of Decrepitude.
    "Happy are the painters, for they shall not be lonely. Light and colour, peace and hope, will keep them company to the end, or almost the end, of the day."
    I'll loan you my copy if you haven't read it.