Friday, January 16, 2009
...and though the news was rather sad
Tonight while listening to the BBC, I heard the news that Andrew Wyeth had passed away in his sleep at the age of 91. What an incredibly talented artist. This painting Ground Hog Day is how I came to understand the work of Andrew Wyeth.
When I returned to school to study landscape architecture in the fall of 2007, the first class of this new path in my life was a course, "Drawing, Seeing, Sketching". Because I had never had any formal drawing instruction, I was petrified. My classmates were 5th year students, most with incredible drawing talent. Every week we pinned up our work and talked about the process of creating our particular drawing.
Our first assignment was to choose an artist, then select one of his/her works of art, and draw it. I chose Andrew Wyeth and I selected Ground Hog Day. The professor told me the only way I would master drawing was to draw. So I did. I got lost in that wallpaper; I would lurk in the shadows cast over the creamy mouldings and out onto the wall. I would lose track of time staring out the window unto the worn tracks that wound around up the hill. My 6B and 8B Staedtlers carried the weight of the heavy logs that lay splintered in the sawdust on rutted ground. I became obsessed when laying down the brittleness of the grass that covered the hillside and disappeared into the trees.
Even tonight, a year and a half later, I don't need to look at Ground Hog Day to write about the process of drawing this artwork. I learned to turn off my brain, to get out of the way, and let my eyes tell my hand what to draw. It was almost spiritual. And that is what I understand Andrew Wyeth's body of work to be.