“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.” – Chuck Close

Chuck_Close_2Above: Lucas I (1986–1987), oil & pencil on canvas, seen on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Chuck Close.

So make it happen!

As Chuck Close says, the answers all lie in the doing, in MAKING! I have decided to, as a new year goal, make a drawing a day. I have noticed, both as lecturer and as student, that artists (in general) these days do not like to draw.

In fact, fellow artist, Banksy, asks the question:

“All artists are willing to suffer for their work. But why are so few prepared

to learn to draw?”



Above: Jesus with Shopping Bags, Banksy.

So I will draw if for no other reason than to accept Banksy’s challenge.

Back in ancient times, when in order to become an artist one was apprenticed to a master, in addition to the humble tasks of sweeping, running errands, preparing wooden panels for painting, and grinding and mixing pigments, the apprentice would learn to draw. The great Michelangelo recommended that a young artist spend a year purely learning how to draw first. This is because drawing provides a strong foundation for almost every other form of art. Drawing enhances the way we ‘see’ the world around us. It predates the written language which in itself is a form of mark making. In fact, drawing and mark making is at the root of all visual communication. Through the practice of drawing we are able to organize the world visually, to see and understand it.

‘It is time for us to look how images are made, to place greater value on drawings and draughtsmanship… practically everything comes to life on a drawing board’. – David Hockney 1973.


Above: WH Auden (1968) David Hockney

The gist of my message, dear reader, is to get your A into gear and do! Don’t be a fence-sitter, a procrastinator! Do not avoid or put off! Go to it! Go for it! Be a person of action in 2016. Instead of being a complainer, be the change you want to see!

Give a damn!