THE ART OF DRAWING: WAYS OF SEEING AND MAKING IDEAS VISIBLE

A Lecture by Brian Elwell MA NDD on 27 April 1998

Brian Elwell was a Senior Lecturer at Southampton Institute and is a well-known artist.

For many people good drawing is that which shows evidence of the ability to render visible reality, or rather appearances, faithfully and accurately with consummate skill. Commendable aims for a draughtsman, though drawing is essentially an abstraction from reality; we are most often looking at an illusion of three dimensions on a two-dimensional surface. In order to make a communication, certain kinds of selection are required.
One is more likely to arrive at an appreciation of drawing by applying a broader judgement of its worth. The question is - what is the artist trying to communicate? Has he or she succeeded in doing it with the means employed?
The aims may vary enormously. From a formal point of view the concerns will range from spatial illusion to effects of light, from a sense of the nature of materials to direction and movement.
Drawing is also often conceptual as well as perceptual and involves making ideas visible that cannot simply be perceived with the eye.
In conclusion, one can say that there are as many ways of drawing as there are ways of thinking and feeling.
Brian Elwell.