I’m drawing a winter scene of an old barn in a field of snow with weeds and snow in the foreground from a photo. The scene caught my eye because of the sense of depth it had as I saw it from the window of our car so I took a photo of it. The feeling of the photo is not what I saw at all … it’s very gray and dismal looking. I drew it anyway and an interesting thing happened. The drawing is much closer to the reality I saw than it is to the reality the photo captured … and I think I know why. I have drawn all the pretty and interesting things in the drawing just a fraction larger and enhanced their beauty just a bit. I didn’t do that on purpose; I just sort of watched the drawing turn out better than the photo and was able to figure out why.
I think this is the way it works. We see the beauty of a scene (or anything) more clearly and more vividly than the other parts. And the interesting thing is that we can still see those things even in a photo. So we are not mere copy machines. We add ourselves to our art with our eyes and with our hands as we draw. A little part of ourselves goes out into the world with each piece of art we make.
I’ve known that for a long time … but it was interesting to see it happening so clearly this time.