Hmm … ‘Drawing is putting a line (a)round an idea’ opined Matisse.
I have often used his
‘to sum up, when I begin a picture, I begin without an idea’
which is admittedly at odds with
‘For me all is in the conception. I must therefore have a clear vision of the whole from the beginning’
which is his better-known one.
Having spent some time working towards the line through painting in the negative shapes only, I have just found a stumbling block.
Today I was instinctively critical of an able artist who had filmed herself making a portrait drawing on Youtube, because once her initial line was traced in, she only ever filled in after that. No corrections, no changes of mind- i.e. no reaction to the work as it progresses. She certainly has a clear vision of the whole from the beginning, but seems to switch off her critical faculties once underway.
Working with such commendable uncertainty and reactivity to the painting, I realised that I am treating the line as sacrosanct, just as the youtube artist did (with 100% ‘likes’ – I’m just saying).
Does the fact that my line is usually derived from a small drawing, with all corrections and pentimenti faithfully carried over into the painting, rather than a photograph (nothing left to decide) make enough difference?
I do make decisions about whether to keep, move or lather lines as I paint up to them, and again when painting round them in subsequent stages, but I am ‘pre-cutout’, not facing the line/colour(infill) tension. I asked self-importantly on this site whether I was drawing or painting, but that might have been the wrong question ….