What is an Artist? Is a Photographer an Artist? Thoughts on drawing and photography...

February 18, 2020  •  21 Comments



 Years before I ever took a photograph, I loved to draw.  As a kid, and like many kids, I loved to fill blank paper with doodles and colorful creations of all kinds. I had enough crayons to sink a ship and I loved to create things on paper.  In fact, I remember being so impressed by an outside art show I saw in Greenwich Village in New York (I must have been 5 or 6) that once I got home, I jumped into a frenzy of drawing and painting and produced enough work to have my own "show" on the enclosed porch of my home. My family was indulgent, and I believe I sold a piece to an aunt for $.05! 

   The urge to draw never really left me but like everyone, life happened, and this urge got put aside for other things--like school, family, and work. When I did have artistic leisure time as I grew, most of it was spent with a camera. Decades later, I returned briefly to pencil and paper and took a few drawing classes, but stopped because something I could not define was missing--perhaps it was not fulfilling enough for me as an artist. 

  About a month ago, after spending almost 10 years completely immersed in photography, I have returned to drawing with very different eyes and perspective.  Now it seems that drawing has helped my photography and photography has helped my drawing.  I have come increasingly to learn the importance of patience (never my strong suit) and close observation.  I have also been reminded just how difficult drawing can be and how time consuming, whereas photography takes place in the blink of an eye. A photograph, to be a polished piece of work, may need a considerable amount of adjustment and manipulation, but for me at least, a drawing needs more.  In both, concentration and determination--i.e., just plain work--are essential to make an acceptable final image. 

  Something that has surprised me about drawing is how good I am at it.  When I posted a few drawings on line, my peeps were stunned and effusive with their praise. I was equally surprised with the reaction. People said to me: "I didn't know you could draw!!", to which I replied "Neither did it!" I am, in fact, a bit embarrassed by all this praise. When friends say "You are so multi-talented!!", I am at a loss for words. "Thanks" is about all I can manage to get out. 

   I have no idea how long I will keep up with the drawing or how it will interact with my photography, if at all.  I do enjoy drawing, but I also find it be difficult--just like producing a fine photograph. I have given a lot of thought about how I could integrate the two--perhaps enhance a photograph with a drawing, or embellish a drawing with a photographic background, but nothing has jelled yet in my mind.  Perhaps if, or when it does, I can produce a work that will sell for more than the $.05 paid by my aunt so many years ago!!


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