When it comes to drawing, my philosophy is not to have any preconceived ideas of what to draw. I begin by simply making random marks on a sheet of paper like a two-year-old with crayons. Spontaneity is the key. In time an image appears, just as one might see an animal or a face in a cloud. Using a pencil and eraser, I bring the image forward, untangling it from the scribble I began with.

Prior to using this technique, the idea for a drawing always came first. But the actual drawings were never as luminous as what I had envisioned. By taking the idea out of the equation, I was able to liberate myself from the confines of concept, and now I can explore a surreal landscape where strange figures emerge out of the fog.

 


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The nine drawings collected here are from the spring of 1996 when I was in an advanced life drawing class in college, the last art class I took before switching my major to creative writing. My professor, John Lincoln, was a master of figure drawing and an intimidating presence in the classroom. There were stories that he would rip students' drawings in front of them, throw them out the window, toss their pencils across the room. These rumors were the reason I took his class, to witness this behavior firsthand, but as the semester rolled on it became apparent that the rumors were just that, or he simply toned down his teaching methods.

I'll never forget my first critique in his class. All the students had pinned up their drawings to the wall and Lincoln pointed at mine. "Who did this?" he wanted to know. I raised my hand. "Why didn't you finish drawing the hand?" "I didn't have time," I said. He took his pencil and drew a fat cartoon hand, the fingers ballooned, so it looked like the model was wearing a baseball mitt. "Next time finish it," he said.


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