contemporary collage paintings
the process
Leslie Avon Miller

My life flows when I'm in my art.

Jean De Muzio

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Drawing as Language

egg shell drawings Leslie Avon Miller
A small stick, some ink and watercolor, a pencil, some charcoal. A surface of paper, brown paper bag, or an egg shell. Drawing is a path to a small world complete with map, or to a story or to observation of beauty.

Marise Maas  

Drawing the Unknown

Taking from the drawer
a large sheet of thick, white paper,
I place it on the floor
and kneel before it.
With a big stick of charcoal
I begin to make marks;
rhythmic, gestural, hard, soft,
intuitively covering the paper
until my hand takes over.
I work slowly with feeling,
drawing deeper
into the paper, into myself,
responding to what is there.
I sponge, smudge, rub, caress,
overlay new marks,
continue building layers,
building energy,
creating more depth,
darkening parts of the paper like thunder
causing the charcoal to splinter, crumble,
crack under pressure.
Now drawing with the rubber
I work into the darkness
clearing passages of light
and before me
there’s a tonal range,
graded and granular
from coal black
to the palest whisper of grey.
I keep going,
immersed, mesmerized,
becoming aware of illusory shapes.
I keep pushing, pulling,
forming, coaxing
until I lift the image out
and my hand is still.

~Ann Symes

Ann Symes, Burn 7
Ann Symes, Distant Voice, graphite
 For me, drawing facilitates thinking. The drawing process is so crucial to me, 
and gradually I have noticed that the activities in life which I prioritize and 
repeat outside of drawing allow a similar kind of thought process to take place, 
for example spending time walking is very important to me.
Through walking, I consciously create time to think, observe and explore. 
But, also I see walking as a linear journey or path through a thought process, 
similar to that of making a drawing. 
I think the other parallel is motion. 
I find it easier to think when I am in some kind of motion, 
which for me is particularly conductive to contemplation.

~Gemma Anderson

Drawing, Leslie Avon Miller
For me drawing is all about movement, it is always the result of an action, a record of motion as a result of a force exerted over time. Whether it be the artist's hand or body, seismic movement, the motion of a tree branch or the path followed by the wind through the landscape it is always the result of movement.

~Tim Knowles

Tim Knowles Tree Drawings
by mick maslen and jack southern
brown paper bag drawing, Leslie Avon Miller

As I put this post together I realized the subject of drawing has the potential for several blog posts. To be continued...

To draw, you must close your eyes and sing.

~Paublo Picasso

More drawings I love are here.


  1. such wonderful words and images to roll around on the palette. that book looks inspiring too. love the paper bag drawing and of course the inside of the eggs, that seems to be especially metaphorical and delicious.

    as always a thoughtful and just "full" post. Looking forward to more!

    1. Hi Carole: The book is delightful. I have not yet tried the exercises, but they look intriguing.

  2. My thanks to Ann Symes for allowing me to share the poetic way she captured the essence of intuitive drawing.

  3. Beautiful post, Leslie. There's something really special for me in line . . and line made when drawing is captured so beautifully with those words . . beautiful images too!

    1. Hi Jann: Drawing is so very primary to the initial creative thought process. We draw to see, to express, to explore.

  4. This post speaks to me so have captured the essence of what I've been doing without the words to convey it. Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Marie: There is something about drawing, taking mark making tool to speaks to us.

  5. tu me donnes envie de me remettre au dessin... magnifique!

  6. a wonderful post Leslie...such eloquence to these drawings. And of course, LOVING the eggshells! :)

  7. I love the egg shell drawings. I love drawing so much - it so often comes second or third after music and writing and garden, but I still try to find time - it is like no other. Thanks for the links to new artists. I will look forward to having a browse.

  8. oh what an inspiring post. love all the drawings and quotes. the first one makes me want to get out paper and charcoal. with such simple and available materials one can make art. i love too the quote about walking as walking has always seemed to me a way to work out problems even though people often look at me like i'm crazy when i suggest it as "therapy."

    your eggshells are amazing. so tiny, not sure how you did that without shaking.!! Thanks Leslie.

  9. I love the work of Ann Symes and your presentation. The quotes are lovely, very inspiring. I need to try the egg shell trick some time, when I get over the awe over your own work!

  10. Tree drawing ..... I'm captivated! Your tree drawing is exquisite Leslie and of course I always love your egg shells. Lovely to see Anne Symes work and words too.

  11. You are so right...this is a big subject! This post is beautiful, your work and the others and looking forward to more about the art of drawing!

  12. Great work...great links. Thank you.

  13. Oh I love this post!
    Very inspiring and beautiful

  14. it is always lovely to visit you ... inspiring, intruiging and taking time out to read, enjoy with a cup of coffee. THe Tim Knowles stuff is so interesting and sends me off into a conceptual dreaming - loved it ... >>> Gina

  15. Hi L, I am finally back- returning to the blog world and especially your lovely blogs after quite an hiatus - I took a break from everything as I put all my focus on my health and beginning my new journey in my studio. The Ann Symes poem is so lovely... I printed it out for my poetry folder. And the other quotes and images are wonderful too as are your drawings.

  16. drawing is much on my mind lately, so fundamental, so important.

  17. So many lovely drawings and links...but oh, the marks in those egg shells - sublime!

  18. So glad you mention Mick Maslen and Jack Southern's brilliant book - Drawing Projects. I found it some while ago and have found it to be enormously useful and challenging. I even blogged about it some while back ... last autumn, I think. I especially love the 'drawing without looking' section. This is now a technique I use a lot and find really inspiring.

    I love your work called 'drawing' - so amazingly 3D with so few lines - wonderful - and of course your beautiful, delicate eggshells. These will inspire me to search out unusual surfaces and use them as you have done to reflect the nature of the drawing surfaces themselves.

  19. Really fascinating thoughts on drawing Leslie. And I love those eggs!

  20. Aaah... you're right! I think drawing and thinking may be the same thing. Lovely drawings, thoughtful words.

  21. Great post Leslie and connects to so many people. The Drawing Projects book is fantastic and one I refer to a lot for myselfcand my students. Look forward to more posts.

  22. LAM - can't believe this post was done so long ago - where have I been, how did I not see it - an indication of my time!! In our own ways all our art is a matter of scratching on surfaces, making marks, making a little shape and sense of the world around us and making quiet statements. But better to scratch than to just wonder. Go well. B

  23. I can see your love of drawing and mark making coming through in your art works... whether it is your egg shells, your books, or collages.. the quotes and images here are wonderful.

  24. Leslie - Thank you for this posting -- it comes at such a moment when time seems to be sweeping one down a rapid stream of idiocy! This reminds me why I need to keep striving and to be gentle with the creativity that cannot be forced. Peace and joy to you this season and for the new year. :-)

  25. Just discovered your blog. I am enthralled. Beautiful, thoughtful, rich. Thank you.


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