I joined a group called the Roaring Fork Drawing Club for dinner and drawing at a restaurant recently. This drawing at a restaurant thing intrigues me. What to draw? Dinner? I sit down, pull out my sketch book, and start drawing the table setting. There is the late afternoon light doing its dance with the glassware, and people jiggling in and out of the low angle light beams. I can sink into it like any form of meditation. You have to concentrate and let go of what you think. Drawing to me is a form of listening. I’m recording.
So I’m doing this, what I do, as I do it, and my friend Brian asks me, “Have you seen this book?” I have not. He hands me this book, and I flip through a drawing self-help book with pages divided into little stamps of white space with captions for drawings yet to come. “Cat running for president” “Seeing-eye Carrots” etc. This format, this club, it’s built for a different kind of drawing from what I do. I’m doing it wrong. This club is about drawing from imagination. I realize this with a little start. All my poetry about seeing and listening to the world and I can’t see it in my head? And what’s funny about that is that I see it in my head all day long. All day every day, I’m an architect. Confident in my vision to a fault. I don’t typically draw from seeing, even if what I’m drawing resembles something that came before (and it always does)– what I draw at work – it doesn’t exist, not yet.
Brian is reading my mind, because he asks me, “Why don’t you go to life drawing?” Right, life drawing. My relationship with drawing is triggered deeply by life. I am either listening to it, or imagining it into life – very specifically and intended for execution by builders. No cats running for president, not today. I think this club is fantastic though, and they must sink into their own meditation. I just might draw them.