The image above was originally made by scoring lines with my index finger into wet sand along a Florida beach. I liked it enough to copy the diagram into my journal. I was just playing - with no real purpose in mind. I was making my mark in a beautiful place on a beautiful day. Just like children and adults do every day at the beach. Just like people have always behaved along a wash of sand before the greatness of the ocean.
No big deal. I was just drawing. Everybody does it to one degree or another. Like most children, my seven-year-old daughter draws every day. Nobody tells her to draw. Her mother and I seldom even talk about it. But once or twice a day she gets out her box of pencils and markers, pulls a sheet of white paper from her top drawer and makes a picture. It's just one of the ways she plays. It's satisfying. It nurtures something from within.
Drawing is a natural and primary form of self-expression. Like athletics, it connects our personal mental goals and aspirations with the muscular coordination of our bodies. In drawing, we "act out" the images we see in our minds. We relive them in a uniquely human dance of hand and arm movements that bring our innermost thoughts to life before our eyes. When we draw, our whole being is involved. We relax into an easy, almost floating sensation as we swirl light, spiraling curlicues onto a sheet of paper. We tense every muscle fiber and grit our teeth when we drive deep, jagged, lightening-like strokes into the page. Drawing is visceral. It is an intrinsic mode of self-expression and creativity. It is as human as singing or dancing, laughing or crying. It is part of who and what we are.
If the creative arts exist to express and reaffirm our humanity, then we must draw. Because in drawing our innately human qualities are expressed as images crafted by purely human means. If the medium is the message, then the means of making itself has meaning. In the arts, the work that moves us most profoundly and directly is the work that most subtly and accurately reflects the uniqueness of ourselves back to us. Drawing is from and of us like no other imagery can be. Drawing is a direct expression of our soul and body. Intrinsic, automatic, irreplaceable. And no big deal.