Blog / 2015 / Drawing and the Artist’s Hand

June 4, 2015

My favorite college professor told me that drawings sift out the real artists from the fakers. And, by that, Hess meant both the fakers with a gimmick but without real technical skill as well as those who have abilities but not an artist’s soul. Hess believed that, when making marks on paper, an artist had nowhere to hide—no layers of paint to cover for what they lack and no amount of clay to bulk out the bits where they fall short. Drawings expose the truth of an artist.

portrait of an old white woman with large glasses
Gwenn Seemel
Lily
2002
marker and gouache on paper
10 x 8 inches

Recently, while flipping through a folder containing mostly drawings from my freshman year of college, I came upon this portrait of Lily, and the image stopped me cold. The composition is awkward, for sure, and the face a bit misshapen, but I can feel the warmth of my love for people in this piece. What’s more I love the lines and crosshatchings done in my trusty old Pentel markers, which were truly my first artist tool. These marks feel like home even though they’re not quite the ones I’d make today.

I know this work is from before I was really a professional, but it still seems to expose the truth of me as an artist. I actually feel a little naked publishing it here, but mostly in a good way. It reminds me of who I am and who I want to be.

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