Drawing needs no color

I have to admit, when it comes to looking at drawings by the masters like Degas and Leonardo and Cezanne, who cares about color? Not me. I have a real weakness for looking at drawings by the great ones. It’s like looking at their personal journals or even their fleeting thoughts. There’s that immediacy that shows what the artist was thinking, developing, remarking upon in a quick burst of thought and response. Only a drawing could capture this.

I once saw an exhibit at our Denver Art Museum of master drawings and was so taken at the privilege to look into the soul of such great artists as these. If I ever see another exhibit of drawings to equal this, I will RUN to see it!

I heard a quilt artist speak about how quilters or anyone who is in the field of creating should learn to draw. So true, but you have to love drawing or you just won’t go for it. When my sister Les and I were at school at CU Boulder, we had a life drawing class at night. That’s pretty much the true test. End of the day, you have to pick up your drawing pad and supplies and trek over to your 3 hour class and draw. I think I took about five or six such classes in school. I even took a full day Friday class at Red Rocks college when I was working my first publishing job in Lakewood. And then another at Arapahoe Community College when I was freelancing and operating my own studio.

You will never be sorry for studying drawing if you are in any creative field whatsoever. But you have to love it or you won’t show up to draw. The best thing that happens after taking so many classes or just drawing in so many sketchbooks is that you feel comfortable drawing pretty much anything you can look at. When you get to that feeling, you are really free in art. Some kids get that in high school and I envy them. Others learn way later in life and that is a gift too.

This is a drawing I did from a photo I saw on the internet. Wow, aren’t we lucky now to have access to any subject we think of to try drawing. All the sketches are usually done as research for a painting. But in the end, the drawings are still always the freshest and therefore, always my favorite things ever.


7 Responses to “Drawing needs no color”

  1. Doreen Flanagan Says:

    Dear Karen, I have just gone through your site and thank you so much for taking the time to write from your heart all your wisdom you have about drawing, and your use of colour is a God given gift. People can be so afraid of colour. I taught quilting for many years while raising my 3 girls, and then had the space to seriously paint. I now live in a retirement village and can indulge myself in piano lessons, classical, and my painting. I must pick up the drawing again, you have really inspired me to do so. I live in Somerset West, near Cape Town , S. Africa and am surrounded by the most beautiful scenery. With love and blessings.


  2. Lila Says:

    I came from your comment on Robert Genn’s newsletter.
    This post about drawing is very timely for me. I had just decided to concentrate on drawing for the moment.
    Not easy, as I LOVE color!
    Reading this post is a good affirmation for me!


  3. Kathy Connelly Says:

    I just love your work. I too saw your comment in Robert Genn’s newsletter. I feel drawing is a major tool for artists to use. I like to draw and use bold colors in my work. The more you draw the easier it becomes. Your words are very good inspiration for all of us. What you do with your work is just amazing.


    • karen Says:

      Hi Kathy,
      I’d love to see your bold color work! Maybe you could post a website? You are right, the more you draw, the more comfortable you are.
      Thanks for your comments!


  4. Marie Moore Says:

    I also found your via commentary on Genn’s newsletter! I love your art! I ordered a calendar this morning! I will be following your blog as well. As for your post, you are so lucky to have the freedom in your drawing. I wish I had better drawing skills. I have tried painting but I am way more confident in making quilts. Someday…


    • karen Says:

      Hi Marie,
      I’m glad you are confident in your quilting work! Painting is not easy, a great challenge for me. I love the work in fabric, it is my “release” and a little more relaxing. It brings me back to my sewing roots with my mom and grandmother paving the way.


  5. karen Says:

    I’m so glad to hear the comments about renewing the drawing activities. And that some are quilting and enjoying that too! There are many ways to express our creativity and it is so rewarding.

    Robert Genn’s newletter is an inspiring one, I’ve been a subscriber for years!


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