Yesterday we were talking about contour drawings, and I thought I’d share Rick Barton’s drawings, because he is a master of this. These photos were taken from an excellent retrospective book of his, Writing a Chrysanthemum, which I give 5 stars.
We can certainly learn from Rick Barton’s drawings, mostly from the fact that he just did it, obsessively, all the time. The other thing I think is important here is that he kept his eye on what he was looking at more than his page, something most of us artists need to do more of. The result is whimsical, contemplative, fresh, and stream of consciousness.
Rick Barton (1928-1992) has only been recently discovered, with a cache of 600+ donated drawings finally coming to the attention of curators. Unfortunately in life, Rick seemed to have struggled, in and out of prison with a opium habit he picked up in China. He was a veteran and gay, living in New York City and in San Francisco, and seemingly very lonely. Most of these drawings were done in the early 60’s in cafes where he spent most of his time, while some were done in prison.
I hope his drawings inspire you to draw more, and to release your drawings from the need to be exact. These are more wonderful because they are not. Have I convinced you yet to get on trying to draw?
I’m thinking of the Klee quote, where he talks about “taking a line for a walk.” Rick Barton certainly did this and you can too.