Thursday, April 24, 2014

Why Drawing is Still Worth Learning

In "high school," Charlotte Mason's students read The Fesole Club Papers by W.G. Collingswood.

Collingswood wrote "[T]here are two reasons why drawing is still worth learning."

His first reason was that "photography is inadequate... Moreover, it commonly happens that we want to note things in places and upon occasions when we can't be expected to carry a camera; but a note-book, and even a miniature colour-box, will never be much of a burden in anybody's pocket."

Now, because of cell phones, we are expected to carry cameras everywhere.

But Collingswood's second reason is the only reason we need:

"The photographer, as such, is not a qualified observer. The habit of sketching makes one sensitive to impressions, sharpens the eye and the memory in a wonderful way. Of course, if a sketcher aim at being an artist pure and simple, and look only for "effects" which will work up into pictures, then he sees only "effects." But if he be interested in any branch of science, his sketching habit keeps him on the lookout; and the necessity for choosing the leading lines trains him to seize them in any case, much more when he is in the act of drawing."

Collingswood writes that we need "the habit of looking, and the power of seeing... [M]ost people are half blind."

We rush from one place to the next, not seeing the scenery. We see the sun set, the act of the sun setting, but we don't "notice the iridescence before the sun went down," or the shapes of the clouds and "their mysterious consent of movement," or "[t]he strange obscurity of olive sky behind certain brightest primrose-golden flakes of flame."

The person who does not draw sees the sun go down and says it's beautiful, but is "like a deaf man at an opera."

Looks like I need to put away my phone and pick up a pencil...

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