Mid-way through this blog's now 9-and-a-half-year existence we lived in a beautiful, rambling house in Elsternwick. On Saturday mornings, Peter and Anselm had a life drawing session thing going on in the loungeroom. Afterward, we would talk, nothing being off limits as artists like conversation to be, but Art was the reason for it all. I loved those lunches. I felt a part of something smart, occasionally funny and always deeply creative. Anselm spoke a lot about the French word dessin, a word that means both design and drawing, concepts the English language separates as though the two are not inextricably linked. It's an idea I've filed in a small space my brain reserves for the kind of wisdom you know that, one day, you'll want to draw on.
There's a book called Drawing Projects that's been a constant companion in recent months. Reading an interview in the book about the process of artist Kate Atkin, a woman who was put on report at college because no-one could see what she saw in the photographs she presented one semester, I had a moment of resounding clarity. On a whim, she drew from a photograph one day:
In making the drawing the most incredible thing happened, like an epiphany. I literally felt drawn to this kind of magic, and discovered how to express myself., it was incredible. I could barely talk about it without welling up. I still feel a bit like that, I get strangely weepy about it if people get me going, it's like a tap into all my most excited feelings.
Well. That's exactly how I feel right now. I well up when I try to explain how happy dessin and my burgeoning understanding of it, and of the maturity making pictures again has delivered into this little life.