I believe the most fundamental skill a visual artist must develop is the ability “to see.” This is the physical development, using our senses, light/color, space and form. It is about the edges, shapes, positive and negative space, perspective, scale, etc. Without learning to see, there is no understanding of the relationships between all the visual elements, and drawing from life is an essential discipline to learn how to see. Drawing from life creates a link between hand and eye, and between the outer world and our perception of it. I use drawing to explore ideas, people, places and things. When I draw in ink, I cannot erase and this helps me to let my line flow and record the character of the moment.
Besides drawing from life, I have two other areas of attention that have become part of my artistic practices. The first is that I start a drawing with no preconception or agenda in order to discover new ideas and images that spring from a blank page. Many times it begins with a wandering line. This form of discovery is difficult and needs continual practice too. I understand this part as the emotional risk.
And the third area practice with my drawings, as well as with other media, is to revisit themes and ideas already of interest and expressed, to discover new connections, meanings, and variations. This for me is the intellectual part of the process, by understanding how to bring ideas into the material world.
My best images are the product of these three different disciplines, and when viewed together they create a clearer understanding and more complete vision of my work and my creative process.