Drawing Block

— 3 minute read

I need to create, I need to create, I need to create.

But once I sit down, with a shiny piece of white paper, pen in hand, whatever objects I can find arranged into some semblance of a still life – I realise that I’m bored, I’m uninterested, and I’m criticising every single line that I put onto that piece of paper. Too crooked, too weak, too emotionless. The still life tries its best to hold its position while my cold eyes stare it down. In my head is a multitude of voices, from a mish mash of books on drawing I’d read, quotes from old masters that I recall, and what my art teacher says, all vying for my attention and appraising every mark that is made on the paper.

Is that an inspired line? (Um can’t say it was. I think it’s just a line.)

Did it start from a spark of emotion? (Yes. If you count boredom as an emotion.)

Is there diversity in your strokes? Is there unity in the diversity? Is there authenticity in the unity in the diversity? (Um. Um. Um. I don’t know please stop asking.)

My lines falter in the cacophony of imagined critiques from the panel of well-meaning artists of present and past. My shoulders sag under the Leonardo’s elegant hatchings, Picasso’s effortless scrawls, and Giacometti’s realer than reality. Van Gogh’s precise lion strokes against my helpless kitten pawing. I tell myself that I cannot be so proud as to compare myself to the masters, I have not the inborn talent, nor the years of experience, nor the absolute commitment to the art.

But yet, how difficult is it to just draw a line? And many lines so that there is a plane, and many planes to make up a composition?

Patience, says my teacher. Give it time.

But I want it now.

What hubris, to want to skip the sweat and tears to go straight to the end of a perfect line. What entitlement, as if I somehow deserve the fruit without planting the seed and watering the plant. Oh, the yelling in my head. This is all me, not the panel of eminent artists. They mostly look away, and the only solace that they can offer me is that at some point, they too had these moments of crippling doubt and self-hatred.

In the meantime my poor line suffers. Maybe I’ll write instead.

Note: This was written before the website went online, which explains the awkward situation of it being posted before the Hello World post.