Saturday, 8 November 2014


Firstly...I must apologise for a long absence from this has been down to what has been called "a temporary disability" which is still with me, and I may not be back on form for a little while.

In the meantime, I have an important thought I just want to share.

I recently gave some advice to someone about a painting.  I commented that the drawing needed some refinement...the shapes were wrong, wrong for proportion, wrong for shape.  So the object in question simply did not "read" as it should.

The response given was "I cannot draw things in correct proportions or shapes.....sorry...I just cannot do it".

MY response was.......  Oh yes you can.  When you say the phrase "I cannot", what you are saying is "I will not".  It is as simple and straightforward as that.

When I was a student, my drawings were often out of proportion.  I was told by a tutor "Jackie, you will never be able to draw with accuracy, so you might as well resort to distortion".          !!!

This infuriated me, and I resolved to work harder at getting things right.  I knew I could "resort to distortion" at any time.........but to do so IN PLACE of getting things right?   Not for me.  I knew I had to work harder at measuring and comparing.  So I did.

It was not easy.  For ages, my drawings were stiff, and looked laboured.  I found measuring tedious and difficult.  BUT eventually, miraculously to me,  my facility to "see" better began to improve.  I found the drawings becoming stronger, better for accuracy, more fluent.  I will always have to double-check measurements;  I do not always hit total accuracy and perfect proportions right off - I avoid doing portraits for this very reason.  (I feel a portrait which is too "fiddled with" loses spontaneity, so I'd rather try something else.)  But I have certainly surprised myself by NOT having to resort to distortion! 

I do recognise that sometimes, we need to accept certain limitations - - and at this moment in my life, I am having to do just that as my body presents me with challenges - but rather than produce failures as a result, I am teaching myself to overcome disability and adjust my methods of being creative.

If you want to draw and paint, and recognise that you are WEAK in certain areas - and that is all it is, weakness, not inability - then be prepared to grit your teeth, and put in the work to become stronger.  You will never regret it.

ok getting off my soapbox now..........................


  1. I fully agree with you Jackie. I come across people who say they can't draw. My question to them is 'but do you Want to draw"?

  2. Jackie, thinking of you and hope that things get better for you. Regarding your post, I totally agree. I have things that are difficult and I work hard to overcome those difficulties. I had a new student yesterday that I discussed sketching with... even in small, say 5 minutes at a time, increments. It is a way to learn... just do it. So, I am usually on a soapbox also! Love the post... good one!

  3. Totally agree Jackie. I had a similar experience recently - I've been drawing and life-drawing all my adult life, but I know that I (guiltily) avoided drawing hands! So recently, I gave myself the task of drawing musician's hands. I treated myself to an excellent American book on the anatomy and drawing of hands and faced the demon! I have just had a multiple pastel painting of the hands published on the front cover of a Jazz festival programme and as a result am very chuffed with myself!
    I do hope that your temporary 'disability' sorts itself out soon. Best regards.

  4. Jackie, learning to 'see' was one of the hardest mountains I had to conquer to become a better painter. Now, I see paintings that are 'out of drawing' and cannot look further. Brush strokes, fabulous color, all pale in comparison to being in drawing!

  5. Jackie...Really enjoyed this post. I have physical things to deal with as well and I paint and draw when I can. It still feeds my soul and I think it helps. Learning is a never ending thing.

  6. So sorry to hear you are struggling with your health. Your posts have been missed, and I hope your tenacity in dealing with this new issue is as successful as your tenacity in learning to draw has been. Blessings to you.

  7. Well said, Jackie. My sentiments exactly.


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