The Importance of Drawing

gayfordI’ve been reading Martin Gayford’s chronicle of his sitting with Lucian Freud, Man with a Blue Scarf, but since it is Freud’s birthday today, it seemed a good time to write about him. I’ve just begun the book, but so far it’s great, not just for the insights into Freud’s working methods and ideas, but also because the writer is an art critic who looks with a keen and humanizing eye.
“Being able to draw well is the hardest thing–far harder than painting, as one can easily see from the fact that there are so few great draughtsmen compared to the number of great painters–Ingres, Degas, just a  few.”–Lucian Freud

Freud goes on to make his point by describing a painting by Max Ernst he once owned. Over time, he got tired of it, largely, he believed, because Ernst did not know how to draw. It’s an interesting idea–we may be able to master painting without being able to draw well, but that the superior draftsman brings something extra, something more, to anything he paints. I merely dabble in paint, would like to do more with it, but this quote inspires me to try harder with my drawing. After all, who wouldn’t want to earn the right to the company of the likes of Degas and Ingres?

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