I can do lots of things, but I can’t draw. I’m okay with it, but it does make me ponder what it’s like to be able to draw because except for me, drawing talent runs in my family. My mother painted fish and under water scenes on our bathroom walls, and flowers on every chest of drawers. (I thought all moms did that.) My younger brother drew surprisingly good likenesses of Hoover and Roosevelt, copied from a newspaper before the election of 1932. He was six . Both my daughters drew, and so does my grandson. My grand niece, Julietta Cole, is a virtuoso. The cat picture, above, is hers, white pencil on black paper. The original was exhibited in the Southern Vermont Arts Center. You need a magnifying glass to see the pencil strokes..
I got a drawing toy when I was ten years old. You put a picture of any kind under it, and it sent an image to a blank sheet that you could copy with a pencil. If people who draw can “see” the picture on the page before they put a pencil to it, it explains how they do it. So I asked, “Before you put a line on paper, do you 'see'the picture?" Mostly I got puzzled frowns.
I also ask if they have eidetic memory, the ability to look at a picture, then “see” it in their minds after it is taken away. I don’t get a clear answer to that either. There are tests for eidetic memory but I don’t know if there is research linking it to people who can draw. Sculpting is like 3D drawing. I read that
Leonardo de Vinci, could hold a lump of clay in each hand, and simultaneously mold one into a man, the other into a woman. But Leonardo doesn’t count; he could do everything so much better than anyone else I think he was an ET. The fact is, people who can draw don’t know how they do it, anymore than math
geniuses know how they do numbers.
My childhood neighbors, Paul Bordt and George Legnos a year older, told me that at Brooklyn Technical High School they were taking “Three Hand drawing.” I couldn’t wait. It was a freshman course and turned out to be “Freehand drawing.” We made meticulous renderings of machine parts, followed the next semester by mechanical drawing, where we used straight edges and French curves. I got pretty
good at that.
But being able to wield no more than a pencil and have something materialize right before your eyes is a mysterious and magical gift.