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On Drawing the Line

Paul Klee said drawing is “Taking a line for a walk”.

A young boy (forever unnamed) when asked about his drawing said, “First I think and then I draw a line around my think”.

Both Rhoda Kellogg and Anita Aarons claim this young boy was their student. Maybe they were teaching the same class?

Anita is no longer here to ask and I never met Ms. Kellogg, but had read the antidote in her book ‘Analyzing Children’s Art’, a brilliant work.

I suspect most of us use both ways of seeing. I know I do.

I think a little, a simple idea – I want to do a drawing of my big black felt coat with a body inhabiting it.  As my sister was both willing and available she became the model. From that singular thought the hand takes over, the results before you.

The most interesting thing emerged, anyone who had even the slightest acquaintance with Patti Ann recognized her immediately. Who knew that the posture of the back was in itself capable of such expressive language that is readable by relative strangers?

Anita Aarons was a mentor to many artists, and always had something worthwhile to communicate. I feel fortunate to be among their number. She was an incredibly gifted educator.

We were on an art tour in Cleveland. As we all reassembled on the bus she said, ‘I rarely have nothing to say about an artist’s work but when I do say nothing it means either the work is very bad or exceptionally good. I’ll let you decide which’.  It was the first and only occasion for her to be speechless in my hearing. An amazing event for all of us I think.

An architect friend saw these drawings and commented on how fun it was to scale up a drawing (which means making a small drawing and then by mathematics making it large!). I said, “Well, David I did these off a eight foot step-ladder, no scaling involved”.  Patti pretty much stood where you see me, and I drew her on the canvas you see before you. Such fun that was.

Rhoda Kellogg is the author of Analyzing Children’s Art published 1969-70

I’ve just found a quote that is the definitive of what art practice is to me – spontaneous self-instruction.

Friedrich Froebel uses this definition to define play in children, he was the founder of kindergarten education over a hundred years ago.  I found this information on page 63 in Rhoda Kellogg’s book.

Play is serious business for both artists and children.

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