Why Do I Draw and Paint?

A new year and new work! It is undiscovered and unknown to me right now. Thinking about this is exciting and engages my imagination. What will I be drawing, painting, collaging this next year? Will I move into a different medium? Discover a new technique in the mediums I am working in now?

Why do I draw and paint? Someone raised this question in conversation. I thought it was a great question and perfect for reflecting on as I begin a new year. 

In a couple of weeks I will participate in a  drawing class. At my age you would think that I could just merrily go out on my own and draw but I love the teacher and her approach to drawing. She is a close observer of nature and so beautifully captures all the nuances of values, textures, and shape. I like the immediacy of drawing. Pick up a pencil, sit down and draw. simple. Everything I learn while drawing is also used in painting. Drawing is meditative.

Botanical Drawing. 8″ x 12″ Pencil. Kathy Grundei. 2018

The year will also include ample opportunities for painting. Why do I paint? I love color and mixing color when painting. It is one thing to draw a landscape or object but another to add color and compose with the value and intensity of color. Watercolor painting is also such a fluid and unpredictable medium. I enjoy teetering on trying to control and just letting it flow.

The Way it Was. 5″ x 7″ Watercolor Collage. Kathy Grundei 2018

Later this winter I will be heading to Florida and leaving the cold and white landscape of Minnesota. The time away includes weekly time with a group of plein air painters. I leave my drawing materials and techniques for the materials and techniques of watercolor painting.When I paint outdoors I get to enjoy nature though all my senses; smells, sounds, temperature, sight, etc. I love the community of painters who all paint the same location but interpret it with differing points of view, style and color. Being out in nature rather than in the studio can be challenging but worth all the challenges.

Plein Air Painting, Sanibel Island 2018

Both drawing and painting can be stressful. But the paradox is that drawing and painting can be very relaxing and exciting at the same time. It is a gift to spend time working through problems and eventually watching as something takes shape. There is something so amazing about completing a drawing or painting from start to finish.

Birch Trail. 9″ x 12″ Watercolor. Kathy Grundei 2018

Lots more to think about as I reflect on why I draw and paint!

Thank you for reading.

There is no other resource so plentiful, ever-changing, and full of information than nature around us. Get ready to dive in with both feet and don’t forget to bring your sense of humor.

— Lori Putman

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