I drew this sheet of robins while having coffee at Peet's this morning. A blank piece of paper, a black litho crayon and a red pencil equal robins. The place was crowded with weekend cyclists and Wellesley's finest catching up with each other. A few cranks and academic types like me, rounded out the throng. Perhaps we're all just robins playing mind games with each other and the worms just under the grass.
But, getting back to that blank piece of paper: I draw all the time. I've made it into a compulsion, an addiction of sorts. It makes me feel happy and at peace if I've put in an honest effort. That's all that matters. A shark has to keep moving they say. So, have I learned how to draw robins? Did I pass the test? My daughter who is 15 and is wise in the ways of the world says that Jackson Pollack just doesn't work for her because it looks so easy. "I could do that" she says. She actually has (sort of) in a fit of decorative creativity.
OK, so I'll just throw this out there (it's completely speculation) Pollack's work is Art because he was acquainted with drawing and representation. He knew there was always something more to the game. Once you become facile and draw a lot (compulsively even), the process of drawing and evaluating your drawings tugs you down the rabbit hole of why and why not. It leads to abstraction. It leads to taking some sort of stand. The artist tries to put himself into the work and leave it there as a testimony to the particular uniqueness of witnessing to his own existence as flawed or lopsided it may be.
I drew this image on the walk home: a lone cormorant drying out and occasionally preening its feathers. I was there. The bird was there. The lake was there. It was all real. I didn't imagine it. And now, I can draw these birds from memory (and have). This drawing is some combination of the real bird and the imagined bird then! Observation and Imagination. Gathering Data and Analyzing Information. Practicing and Performing. Indistinguishable!