All Text ©Copyright 2006 and 2011 by Brian Carl Hart / All Rights Reserved
by Brian Carl Hart
Statement
ON  DRAWING AND ART
I have been drawing for over half a century; disciplined and conscientious-
ly drawing since I was ten years old.  I cannot say that I experienced any
great pleasure fom drawing when I was younger, nor that I had great pati-
ence with my subjects, because I have no memory of those experiences.  
Neither do I remember having had any serious concentration of effort, al-
though one existing early photograph ( in kindergarten class ) does attest
to such.  I do however, remember that it was others, most remarkably, our
mother, who, displayed  an excitement and expressive, ecstatic joy, upon
any and every occasion of having been shown my latest drawings ( and
those of my identical twin brother ), having had looked over my shoulder
when I was doggedly pushing a pencil or crayon in my fisted left hand.  It
was our mother, who first taught my identical twin brother and I the foun-
dations of good drawing and painting, even though she never painted a
picture in her life.  


I believe that some of my first attempts at drawing were scribbles in crayo-
la, executed upon the steaming hot and clacking radiator in our small
three-room apartment. Four decades later, traces of these abstract crayola
expressions would be testament to not only my very first attempts at
drawing--who knows what--but, my first and only forrays into the nebulus
and subjective realms of so-called, 'Abstract Expressionism'. Nonetheless,
I continued to draw prolifically throughout my life, and to express myself,
my thoughts, feelings and ideas ( and other interests ) with drawing and
painting mediums ( not, 'medias'!! ), and the written word ( the other side
of my obsessive hypergraphicism). But it would prove to be as a draught-
sman ( not, 'draftsman'!!) that I would best be able to express myself.
Drawing, the lifetime medium of my choice for my most personal expres-
sions, has remained my forte', and the metier that my family, close friends,
and those acquainted with my work, would identify as my noblest attribute.


Because my identical twin and I drew better than our peers as children, we
were thought to have had what is refered to as a 'gift', that there was 'gen-
ius' to our creations.  However, I am not so sure that that was the case.    
At that early age, who can say which scribbles and doodles are better than
others'?  Perhaps around the ages of eight or ten, some childrens' draw-
ings are more advanced than others',  but that is only because they were
encouraged to draw and were more persistent in their creative endeavors.
One drawing in particular, of my identical twin brother's ( which I still have)
comes to mind, a beautiful pencil drawing of Christ, a copy of a half-length
robed figure from some Baroque work of art ( I am looking at it now, as I
write this ).  The profiled portrait is gracefully drawn.  The propotions and
the anatomy of the head, one hand and half figure are good, and the phys-
iognomy of the facial features are expressive, displaying a sensitive inner
spiritual psychology that is associated with the god-like figure of Christ. I
believe that this drawing of my brother's  is very unique, in that I have
never seen one as good by any ten year old, including myself. I do not
remember ever having had done as good a drawing at age ten as this
particular drawing of Christ by my identical twin.  


After having had pondered for decades now the enigma of why I have
drawn all of my life  ( I am now 67 ), I am now convinced that I continued to
draw was always to express a thought, feeling or idea and at the same
time, continuing to perfect my craft all the while. It was always my contin-
uously perfecting y craft, whch ever medium I might use.  I was always
driven by a compulsion to record my rhoughts and ideas in the best
appliction of chosen medium, and is the same to this day.  Always driven
to compete with no one other than myself, and always to improve.


Early on, finding criticism, as well as praise from others, mostly absolutely
useless in regards to my work benefiting from it, and only rar, i ever, when
the other person knew abything about drawing, anything about drawing,  
or color or painting.  I found that most 'painters' were as inabole, as a rule,
to either not be able to express their knowledge, if at all, or were just not
lered or sell educated on the subject that was their work and lives. No
objective criticism.  All subjective, and rhetorical, and either philosophical
or religious.  I cannot remember the last time I was given good solid
technical / craft  information I could use.  Drawing was always so easy to
have a medium at hand.  A brush or reed pen, feather or metal quill, ball-
point pen or felt tip pen


Whichever the case may have been, praise was always something that
made me cringe, something to be avoided like the plague.  Even today, a
half century later, praise still makes me feel uncomfortable, not because I
am unworthy of it, but because other's opinions of my work are rarely
informed and objective ones, and because praise or any kind of recogni-
tion is truly irrelevant as to why I have continued to draw to this day.   I
have always drawn and painted for myself.  To perfect my craft and to
express and make manifest my feelings, thoughts and ideas.  Never to
show my work or to attract praise, or prove anything to anyone, but
myself.


Like praise, criticism, too, falls away like water off a duck's back, so-to
speak.  I bristle at either, whether expressed by novice, the uinitiated, my
so-called, 'artist' contemporaries, and expert ( ie:museum curators), alike.
I know my good drawings from my bad, or not so good ones.  Besides, the
cliche-ridden pseudo-rhetoric of contemporary Post-Modernist 'art criti-
cism' that is so much mumbo-jumbo 'art speak', is  hardly adequately qual-
ified to make any valid judgements about sound draughtsmanship ( not,
'draftsmanship! ), let alone, aesthetics.  I am fully convinced that my draw-
ings, or those of anyone else for that matter, are not unlike the pages of a
private journal, and are creations that only the person who created them
can know ( and only partially understand.  In this sense, every draughts-
man ( not, 'draftsman'! ) is alone.  Occasionally, Old Master drawing cura-
tors can communicate what a particular drawing might actually express,
but even then, it is only a subjective interpretation of what is actually
there.  Rarely can words convey what is in any drawing.  They can only
suggest an effect a particular drawing might have on the person writing
about it, but not what the artist really felt as he or she did the drawing.
And even then, the drawing process, with all of its psychological, intellec-
tual, emotional and sensorial ( not to mention, genetic ) implications, is far
too complex for even the artist to fully understand, let alone, be objective-
ly interpreted by others, or 'artists' who have not drawn all of their lives,
not to mention, persons who have never drawn.


The reasons why I have drawn for over half a century, would fill a lengthy,
psychoanalytical tome.  Why I continue to occupy my time with an endea-
vor that has provided practically no financial security or material benefit
whatsoever, other than filling up empty space in whatever present living
quarters I might be occupying at the time, and absorbing and containing a
bit of heat from the furnace in winter, and thereby contributing to keeping
me a bit warmer, is something I still wonder about. What it is that drives
me to still draw every day of my life, eludes me to this day. The benefits of
having had accumulated--no--hoarded over the decades, literally, tens of
thousands of drawings in sketchbooks, portfolios, stacks and boxes,
obviously, lies elsewhere.


Drawing has always been a way of life for me. Once I got the craft under
my belt, so to speak, the discipline became habitual and the habit became
obsessional.  Drawing every day, often for weeks, and often months at a
time, consumed my time, and what was for yeard, and habitual, practiced
preoccupation, became a disciplined labor of love, and a way of life. I  have
often wondered whether my unbridled hypergraphicism might not be more
some kind of redestination', an enigma of past lives, rather than a creative
eccentricity of character.  Be that as it may, drawing for me, is a habit as
natural and organic as breathing or walking ( in a biorhythmic sense of the
word, and not a metaphorical one ).


The organic-like development of Paul Gauguin's painting compositions
come to mind.  In that great artist's painting oeuvre. I recognize a  similar
natural pattern of line and forms, a trail of umitigated explorations and dis-
coveries that are not unlike many of the natural and free-form rythmic pas-
sages in many of the vey best of my own drawings.  What I am specifically
referring to here, is the drawings' natural, organic sequences of develop-
ment and  the sequential relationships between drawings executed in one,
two, or three minutes' time and in an uninterrupted, spontanious series,
one right after the other.  In those sequences, or series of drawings, sub-
jects and themes are repeated, but more often than not, 'reinterpreted' or
'redeveloped', with same, similar, or different subject matters. Different
genres, subject matters, and  historical styles, techniques and drawing
mediums  ( not, medias'!! ) and abstract idioms, are adapted 'at the drop of
a pen', so to speak, wihout 'skipping a beat', as they say, to explore un-
charted territory that can no more be taken for granted to appear, than
was, let's say, Columbus's New World land-sighting, or Captain Cook's dis-
covery of the Sandwich Islands.  Like exploration, drawing is about discov-
ery.


Why does one draw?  Most people stop drawing when they are adoles-
cents or young adults.  This is why most adults draw like children.  The
small ma- jority who are encouraged to continue to draw ( or paint ) are
those thought by their peers and elders ( or themselves ) to have an ex-
ceptional talent, though this is not always the case.  I am not so sure that  
I continued to draw only because it is what I did best.  Because it is not
that clear to me what my real motivation has ever been to draw.  To keep
from being bored? A consolatiion for a traumatic early childhood experi-
ence?  Was drawing for me always just a  compulsive behavior, or was it a
parental directive to keep me occupied and out of trouble and harm's way?
Considering my understanding years later of my mother's natural talent
and desire to teach myself and my brothers the so-called, 'liberal arts' ( ie:
music, languages and painting ),  I now believe that the inspiration and
encouragement to draw, lies there ( with my mother ). Years later, I began
to understand that I drew because I had to.  


Obviously, drawing always presented new challenges for me, has given me
a certain amount of pleasue and sense of accomplishment over the last
half century.  Drawing has also provided me with a haven and refuge, a
liferaft, so-to-speak, from my own trials and errors, as well as an escape
from the society in which I live that I find ever so increasingly diminishing
in any intelligent aesthetic ethic.  Which, by the way, may have always
been a cause of much of my own ( and any artist's ) boredom, and equally,
in turn, the cause for anyone to be creative in the first place,


One could say that any person draws or paints, writes, dances or compo-
ses, or plays music (or does anything with their hands ) as much because
they are bored as they are inspired.  But Inspiration is a word which mean-
ing is generally subjectively ( and wrongly ) interpreted.  An artist's inspir-
ation can be a visual stimulous, some object, figure or face, a landscape,
sky or cloud formation, a configuration in a rock or tree trunk, or an inum-
erable number of things.  Inspiration can be a thought or idea, a written
word or a sound, a birdsong or music, an emotion, memory, or a sense of
touch, either pleasurable, or irritating. Inspiration can be anything and
everything, including the taste or smell of something pleasant or unpleas-
ant, or a chemical or electrical stimulous in the brain.  People, especially,
artists, often confuse inspiration with motivation, which are two very diff-
erent things.  


I am always been 'inspired', but not always motivated to draw, or paint, or
be creative in any way.  It has always been the later ( motivation ) where
my problem lies.  I am always inspired by great art and unique and beauti-
fully crafted artifacts. whereas I am often not motivated to pick up a pen or
a brush.  It is my memory of these beautiful things ( as well as nature and
the human form ) that inspires me.  On the other hand, the challenge and a
sense of accomplishment in having executed a drawing well, or completed
a better than just 'good' painting, has also motivated me to continue to
draw and write and be creative.  But motivation can also be a two-edged
sword. A desire for recognition and success motivates most 'artists'. and
an ego-driven 'creativeness' is often confused with the Id, which is the
center of the true artist's character.  Contrary to what motivates most
'artists', I have always drawn for no other reason than to challenge and
perfect my drawing skills.   


Drawing at its very best is a courageous act of determination to perfect
one's craft and art, and to manifest one's vision in a clear and succinct
way.  Good drawing is always a necessary foundation for any good paint-
ing.  All great painters knew this to be true.  And this is precisely why the
alla prima oil sketch ( in one sitting ) was a a challenging metier for great
artists throughout history.  None the less, the so-called,'oil sketch' may be
a misnomer, because, in its perfected form, in the hands of a true master
draughtsman/painter, the quickly executed, generally, small format paint-
ing, is afinished product, and is no more a 'sketch' than a good drawing is.
The truly masterfully done, so-called, 'oil sketch' is in its own right, the
quintessential hallmark of the great painter. It is true 'signature' of the
master draughtsman not having to think when he paints because he has
his drawing skills 'under his belt', so to speak.  The 'oil sketch' as an exer-
cise, can, and often has been, a 'study' for a larger work, but it can also be
an isolated finished work of the highest calibre.  Rembrandt, Rubens,
Corot, Delacroix, Daumier, and Van Gogh, were all masters of the 'oil
sketch', proving that good drawing skills are always a prerequisite for any
good painting.  The 'oil sketch' is a good test of any artist's drawing and
painting skills.


The act of drawing, more than any other artform or medium, is experien-
cing the process of the creative act itself.  Of course, the completion of
any successful creative act brings with it a sense of personal accomplish-
lment that is private and cannot, no matter what anyone says, be shared
with any other person.  It can also be said that no matter what the most
knowledgeable and erudite art critic might say about a drawing or painting
by any artist, the interpretation can only be at best, a subjective ( and
distorted ), if not, a totally false interpretation.  I am not referring to an  
informed and objective criticism of the quality of the craft and use of the
medium by someone who has mastered same mediums of the craft.  Art
critics and art curators, are often less than objective critics about the art
that supports their livelyhood, preciely because the critic's and art cura-
tor's motives can be driven by ego, an ego that has a need to associate
his or herself with something ( in this case, the artist ) that is lacking in
themselves ( the art critic).  The prosaic, 'over-winded', and often, idiotic
and ridiculous Post-Modernist verbose nonsense that has  been passed-
off as contemporary 'art criticism' in the 'art rags', coffee table books and
museum catalogues for a good quarter of a century now, has only promo-
ted a generation or two of artists who not only don't know what good
drawing or good art is, but never really learned how to draw.  Art critics,
as a rule, avoid dealing with the issues I address here.  Why is this?  I  
know that I am not the only person who has asked such questions and  
posited same ideas for others to consider.  But I don't see any likeminded
contemporary art critics or art curators doing the job they should be
doing, and that is separating the good drawings ( and good art ) from the
bad. They are obviously staying wide and clear of Degas' truism, that
"there are only good drawings and bad drawings", like it was the plague.  
Every 'artist' and anyone interested in the arts should be asking them-
selves these very same questions.  


Artists too can be the worst critics of their own and other's works. But this
does not mean that there no artists who can have both an objective insight
of their own purpose, as well as a well-rounded knowledge of art history.  
But artists who have a cultivated aesthetic eye, and the necessary lang-
uage skills to logically deduce the evidence from an objective perspective
that is based on quality standards of craft and not personal taste, are rare,
indeed, especially, in combination.  No wonder there are so few truly great
artists today, let alone, great artists who know what they are talking about.
So often, art-speak and cultural cliches are substitutes for intelligent ob-
jective art criticism.  


Most 'artists' create to show and be recognized and rewarded for their ef-
forts.  But this has nothing to do with being an artist.  The true artist cre-
ates because he must.  He draws or paints, sculpts, dances or writes,
because he is driven by forces both complementary and anethema to his
or her creative nature, or his or her unique condition. The character of the
true artist is to seek the truth, to strive for quality in his or her chosen
medium ( ie: charcoal, oil paint, clay ), or media ( ie: writing, photography,
film ), and to steadfastly remain true to an intelligent ethical aesthetic.
Unfortunately, for over a quarter of a century or more, the trend of Post-
Modernist art criticism rhetoric has been devoid any semblance of an
ethical aesthetic, and the artworld has suffered for it.


For the last half century and more, the artworld has beed driven by the
market, and artists, as a whole have tried t keep up with the latest fash-
ions and trends.  Aesthetic standards have been constantly lowered and
ccontemporary art gets worse and worse on the whole.  For this very rea-
son, I have ignored the art rags and stayed clear of the mainstream.  And it
has proved to be for my advantage that I have, because by doing so, I
have been able to remain true to my aesthetic ethic and concentrate on
focusing on improving my drawing and painting skills, and not be distract-  
ed by what anyone else is doing.  Whatever I draw and whenever I draw, I
do it regardless of what other contemporary artists might be doing ( or
what my neighbors might think ).  My inspiration obviously lies elsewhere.  
Like my vast library and my love for old good books ( I rarely frequent new
bookstores ), drawing is a liferaft, a real refuge in this vacuous-- what is it
now? -- Post-Post-Modernist Age of pseudo culture, debased aesthetics
and bad drawing.  For me, drawing, will always be like a favorite book or
cherished antique, a treasure that can be hoarded and not always shared
with others ( let alone, everyone ).


As a draughtsman ( not, 'draftsman'!! ), one of my goals is to improve my
knowledge, understanding and memory of the human anatomy to where I
can accurately draw from memory, any type of figure ( or head, hand, or
foot ) of either sex, of any age, from any angle or perspective. I'll be the
first to admit that I am far from ataining such a high goal, and very few  
artists of the past were able to attain the very same high standards. The
painter/draughtsman Tiepolo family and Toulouse-Lautrec come to mind.  
The elder, Giambattista, and his two sons, Domenico and Lorenzo and 'the
last great draughtsman', Toulouse-Lautrec ( and not, Picasso! ), have re-
mained for me to be paragons of such draughtsmanly virtues.  In my mind,
they have set the 'highbar' so to speak, when it comes to drawing the
figure, and they are the standard by which I judge my own and others'
figure drawings.


One of the greatest  pleasures I have experienced in my life, has been to
draw the nude from life and and from memory, and Greek and Roman mar-
ble portrait busts ( and figures ) in museums.  These drawing exercises
have been good tests of my drawing skills, and I have always taken advan-
tage of access to a live model, and the Classical galleries in art museums.  
Whereas drawing from a live model has always been an emotional exper-
ience for me, drawing from classical marbles is almost a tactile experience
that transports me to those ancient times in classical history where aes-
thetics, ethics, poetry and metaphysics merge, and I often have felt at one
with the gods.  I often wonder if those experiences might have something
to do with a 'genetic memory'.


I have always found drawing the nude figure, whether from life, or from
classical marbles, an emotional and sensual, if not, a near erotic experi-
ence which further fuels my passion for drawing.  Drawing the nude, for
me, is a transcending experience, where I don't have to think about what I
am doing ( like making love ).  Decades of drawing has culivated a vigilant
aesthetic eye, allowing me to develop and perfect an ingrained system of
triangulating space and distance, with which I can create the correct pro-
portions, and the proper light and shade to delineate form and the nuan-
ces of detail.  This system, which can bring the figure or portrait to life,
comes quite naturally, without thought or mitigation, whereby drawing be-
comes easy, an automatic process, like automatic writing ( or breathing ).  
Having had practiced this system for decades now--a system fueled by my
emotions and a love for drawing--, I can achieve an automatic spontaneity
wit which I can accurately capture the individual character and personality
of the figure ( or head study ) in one or two mnutes ( and rarely, five ) and
instill in the drawing a life and originality that is my own.


I have never been known to have to spend a lot of time on a drawing in or-
der to achieve a desired effect.  Over a half century of drawing has sharp-
ened my drawing skills to where the spontanaity of my drawing is immedi-
ate and without thinking.  The very best Old Master drawings, executed
with the brevity and confidence of an artist who has his craft under his
belt so to speak, are the drawings of consumate veteran draughtsmen who
did- n't have to think aboutwhat they were drawing.  I do not know of any
artist today who can do this and produce a masterful drawing with the
ease and brevity of a true master, inspite of whom the Post Modernist art
critics and curators profess to be the real thing.  Speaking from experi-
ence, it takes decades and a lifetime of drawing to perfect the draughts-
man's art.  Most artists today, never took the time to learn how to draw
before they took up a brush.  This is precisely why there is so much bad
painting exhibited today in the art galleries and museum.


Drawing the female nude, for me, is kind of like making love with my eyes
and the tip of my drawing implement. Without doubt or hesitation, I begin
drawing without having to first gauge the proportions or 'sketching-in' the
figure.  My hand knows what to do and I can keep my eye on the subject.    
If the model has a sensual figure, and I find the figure particularly attrac-
tive, my drawing implement touches-down like a butterfly flitting from
flower to flower in a garden, and my crayon, pen, or brush strokes the
paper as if it were my fingertips gently navigating the erogenous zones of
my lover's body.  If it is a male figure that I am drawing, I am less distrac-
ted. and the exercise becomes more an academic one.  Because I am a
male, and naturally know the male figure better than the female figure, the
drawing exercise is less erotic ( but no less em 'otional ), and I focus on
the ideal.


Whether they be historians, collectors and dealers, the general art-loving
public at large, as well as the majority of contemporary artists, many may
feel 'the fire of inspiration', but few can ever really know few can ever real-
ly know what it feels like to really draw, because only so very few can.
What the true draughtsman really experiences is as private and secret as
any great painter's, poet's or musician's creative experience. And even
though most everyone has drawn sometime in their life, and some, even
having had experienced the mystery and thrill of creative exploration and
discovery, only the seasoned consumate veteran draughtsman can know
what it really feels like and means to 'draw'.  I have supected a long time
now, that even Old Master drawing curators were in the dark about what
anyone who draws, experiences.  Drawing curators may swoon and get
prosaic over a great  ( or not so great ) drawing, but they cannot possibly
know or feel what it is like to do a good drawing, let alone, a great one (but
many will go on and on about a mediocre one).


Drawing is a private, most personal endeavor that the artist cannot really
share with anyone else.  What the spectator experiences when looking at
any drawing, let's say, one of a nude, may be rewarding, even, pleasura-
ble, but the artist's experience in recording what he sees and feels is past,
and like any experience in life, irretrievable, even by the artist himself. Like
my lovemaking ( or psychological makeup ), my drawings are pieces of my
private feelings and my life's experiences.  And, like anyone's drawing ( or
writing ) experiences, they are private and inaccessible to others.


Anyone's drawings, at their best, display a spirit and personality that is
original and unmistakably unique to their experience, and are records of
those experiences' influences and causes, and are the drawing 'signature',
personality, and  character of the artist, and rarely, if ever, is any artist's
work objectively analysed, because of the sole fact that no one elseexper-
ienced the creation of the work of art. And even though what makes any
work of art great is the marriage of the perfectef craft to the character of
the work's original vision, and the clarity of its message.  And although I
do not see such quality to be in all of my drawings, to be unique to my
drawings alone, in general, I rarely, if ever find same essential essence of
some original vision in the work of my contemporaries. This the very rea-
son why I am generally disappointed in contemporary art and why I stay
away from contemporary art wings of museums and the so-called, 'gallery
scene'.  For in those showplaces for individual egos of artist types, cura-
tors, and collectors of contemporary art ( and the general public ) condon-
ing same, I rarely, if ever, see any contemporary art that interests me, let
alone, that inspires me.  In a nutshell, most of what I have seen in contem-
porary art galleries, and briefly perused in the art rags the past four de-
cades, has been pretentious and redundant at best, or just, child's play,
compared to the Old Masters' works that have inspired me all of my life.


The act of drawing is the closest thing to what could be called the quintes-
sential tactile creative act.  Whether it is a child or an adult who is wielding
the pen or crayon, the act of drawing, more than any other creative activi-
ty ( except, perhaps, the act of love-making ), can be a magical act, some-
thing like alchemy.  Drawing can also be a vehicle, not unlike Buddhism, in
that it can be both a metaphysical and spiritual tool with which one can in-
vent, make discoveries, and transport oneself out of the present. The act
of drawing brings with it, a state of euphoria, as well as an unmistakable
sense of personal power not to be underestimated. Like dance, drawing in
its purest form, can be the essence of freedom


But like every artform, drawing too must be  perfected in its craft first, and
then continuously nourished and developed and exploited, and those very
same skills conjoined with a serious study of the history of Old Master
drawings, in order for one to understand  and gain any real knowledge
about what good drawing is and what it is one is doing when one is in the
act of drawing. One has to know what good drawing is to do a good to be
able to do a good drawing.  All said and done, the genius of the artist still
has to be planted like a seed, and nourished, and the craft, continuously
perfected, or it will remain adolescent in its craft, and remain the same,
either undeveloped, or just stylish or trendy, or both, and at best even
though, perhaps, promoted, celebrated and exploited, to the artist's and
every parties' involved, greater advantage, regardless of undeveloped  
craftsmanship ( ie: draughtsmanship) or unevolved aesthetic. At best. an
idea and not a vision, never exploited with a measurable level of skilled
genius-based talent. unsupported by a well-honed craftsmanship partner-
ed with a unique originality.  


Like any artform, there are all kinds of drawing, both good and bad. Unfor-
tunately, today, there is mostly, the later.  The art galleries and musems
are loaded with contemporary imitations and fake 'art', but regardless of
what contmporary art fashions and trends promulgate and perpetuate as
'art. it is only real creative draughtsmanship that has a poetry that separ-
ates it from and above the 'run of the mill', so to speak, the mediocre and
bad drawing, and the just, 'so-so' The kind of drawing that has been so
prevalent since artist's tools and materials have been so easily accessible
to everyone with the notion that he or she is an 'artist'.


Truely, great draughtsmanship is rare today, the kind of draughtsmanship
that is both spontaneous and calligraphic and at the same time, accurate
in the anatomical proportions ( when it is a figure drawing, head or limb
study ), as well as  having a poetic quality that is unique, and recognizably
original.  Every great Old Master drawing has these characteristics, but
these very same qualities are rarely. if ever found in contemporry draw-
ings done today.  Why is this?  Of course, the times have changed since
the discovery of a real perspective and traditional oil painting and drawing
mediums   ( not, medias!! ) nearly six centuries ago. Today, with the gen-
eral acceptance of the most willy-nilly, slap-dash attempts at 'making art' (
and 'marks on paper' ) with any type of materials at hand, and everyone's
grandmother and fashionable teenaged daughter now claiming themselves
to be an 'artist', the real issue of what good drawing is has been irreversi-
bly muddied.  Even when I was poor, I could always afford a bottle of ink
or tube of oil paint.  Now, only the well-to-do pretenders can afford the
quality oil paints and real sepia ink that I have used all of my life. But most
important, the centuries-old tradition of perfecting the craft of drawing is
no longer taught in art schools. 'Scribbles', 'smushes','doodles', 'chicken
scratches' and cartoonish 'sketches' are now the accepted norm.  Even
the 'tromp l'oeil' painting techniques of the 17th. Century Dutch Masters
have been co-opted by forms of illustration, and the drawing and painting
studio traditions of a half millenia of true draughtsmanship, has been co-
opted by the most inept 'sketchers', the pretty renderings of amateurish
'draftsmen', 'draftswomen', pretenders, 'scribbers', 'doodlers' and child-
ish 'graffiti  artists',  And to the detriment of art, in general, the words
'artist' and 'art' have lost any real semblance of their true meanings. So
much for the latest volumes of the history of art.


Watteau's, Rembrandt's, and Guercino's drawings are perfect examples of
what I call  'spontaneous poetic draughtsmanship'.  Such a quality can on-
ly be attained only when drawing skills are mastered, and only if the artist
maintains an ethical aesthetic standard.  In order to recognize this particu-
lar 'poetic' quality in many of the best Old Master drawings ( and it is there
in every great drawing! ). one must be able to recognize a certain measure
of great confidence and ease in the line, which is a 'signature' of good  
drawing skills. And although being able to appreciate any work of art--or
drawing, for that matter--, does not requisite any real knowledge or under-
standing of drawing, being able to measure the quality of a drawing using
an informed and objective criteria most certainly demands a studied disci-
pline of the craft, as well as the history of Old Master drawings.


Surely many curators, dealers and collectors of Old Master drawings have
cultivated an aesthetic eye, but only the seasoned consumate veteran
draughsman has firsthand experience and knows the real secrets of his
art, and even he cannot share the experience of the creation of a drawing,
for any interpretation of any drawing can only be an subjective one. The
seasoned' consumate veteran draughtsman has trained his eye, and is
objectively critical of his own drawings, and therefore has anadvantage in
being able to separate the good from the bad dawings.  When in the act of
draw- ing, the true draughtsman is always conscious of the fundamental
purpose of his or her act, which is to perfect his or her craft.  And while
drawing, the artist becomes a 'catalyst', or 'vehicle' for the source or ins-
piration that moved him or her to draw a particular subject, or do a draw-
ing in a particular style. The closest I can get to really describing the phe-
nomenon I experience when I am drawing at my very best, is being outside
of my body. And this statement has a measure of credulity.  For only the
true consumate veteran draughtsman has the ability and power to 'draw
like a god'.


The act of drawing, in the very best sense of that term, and by the hand of
the seasoned, consumate veteran draughtsman ( Toulouse-Lautrec comes
to mind ) is a magical act, just short of a miracle. The poetic license of the
seasoned consumate veteran draughtsman ( I cannot stress enough the
importance of these defining words ) is the genius of his skill, the brevity
of his line and the speed with which he draws his subject or explores a
particular idea, and is the irrefutable evidence that is his perfected art. The
credential of the true seasoned consumate veteran draughtsman is the un-
ique calligraphic 'signature' of his line. The freedom and ease with which a
drawing of a figure from life or memory is executed, is recorded in every
great drawing. This is why a good copy of an Old Master drawing must not
take longer to do than it took the artist to do the original.


One as myself. who has drawn all of his life, and has also seriously stud-
ied Old Master drawings since adolescence, knows when looinkg at an Old
Master drawing, whether it took a minute or two, or five, or more minutes
for the artist to do the drawing.  Such skills cannot be immitated or copied
without one having had mastered those very same skills, and it takes a
lifetime of drawing and studying great drawings to recognize the 'signa-
ture' of a master's hand.  I have found that even in the better fake 'Old
Master' drawings there is always some weak 'passage', anatomical error,
obvious lack of spontaineity, or 'forced effort' that sticks-out like a 'sore
thumb', so to speak.


Having had studied Old Master drawings and drawn for over half a cen-
tury, I can recognize in many of my own drawings, a certain same poetic
quality and freedom of line that is the real 'signature' of many of the Old
Master drawings I have seen, a certain brevity and calligraphicism of line
imbued with emotion, intelligent design and calculated eye-hand coordina-
tion, that together, give the drawing a life of its own.  The immediacy with
which I execute the best of my drawings, and the essence and life that is
their own, is both a technique and a credential to make aesthetic judge-
ments, upon not just my own drawings, but those of all of my contempor-
aries, as well as the Old Master drawings that have served as my edu-
cational and tutorial guides towards a better draughtsmanly excellence.
Without having had seriously studied Old Master drawings, and having
had applied what I have learned from those same Old Masters' works, I
would not have been able to build an aestheic ethic based upon an intelli-
gent, objective and qualitative judgement of what good drawing is. It is
because there are so few, if any real draughtsmen today ( and I mean in
the very best meaning and sense of that word ), that my Old Master men-
tors have remained to be the drawing standard I still coninue to strive for
in my own drawings.  All said, I know that I still have a long way to go, and
many more thousands of drawings to do, and even though I know that I
have, as a draughtsman, left my generation and successive ones 'in the
dust' so to speak, I cannot slacken my vigil. I must continue to perfect my
craft and my art.


It is not easy to explain what makes a good drawing. The dynamics of con-
temporary art in general, and the economics of the art market, for that
matter, are more easily explained.  So far, I have found no one capable of
communicating objectively what it is that makes a great drawing 'great'.  
This is probably not just because cliches and metaphors are so often
used, but because what truly makes a great drawing has never been ex-
perienced by any of those who have written about drawing.  It stands to
reason that only the very best of the Old Master draughtsmen taught
drawing the way it should be taught, and that the reason why so many of
today's 'artists' draw so very badly is because their teachers can draw no
better.


I was fortunate enough to have had a few teachers who still taught draw-
ing by Old Master studio standards.  In highschool, I drew from still lifes
and live models, and in college, I drew many Roman and Greek marbles
and from the nude figure. I became proficient at these drawing exercises
and they came quite easy for me.  Most of my contemporaries, however,
struggled with these exercises and either only reached a mediocre level, or
just 'good' results, but nothing extraordinary.  What became a struggle for
them, I accomplished with ease.  But it took a lifetime of drawing to learn
how to really draw.


Drawing can only be taught and learned in its basics ( ie: proportions, per-
spective, anatomy, form and light and shade ). The ability to draw anything
with ease, well, and compose, render, or abstract any subject at will, sim-
ply cannot be taught. Such skills can only be developed and perfected by
years, if not, decades, of a rigorous and disciplined dedication to drawing.  
It takes a lifetime of dedication to one's craft, and remaining ethically un-
compromised, uninfluenced or adulterated and insincered by any market
trends and fashions, to remain true to the high standards that had served
the very best Old Master draughtsmen for nearly five hundred years. To
perfect one's art. whether it be drawing or painting ( or writing ), one can
have no other motive than a desire to create a great (and, not just, 'good')
work of art, and to have a sincere desire to better one's skills in the pro-
cess.


The emphasis is on the perfecting of one's craft that the Old Master work-
shop/studios were dedicated to. One could not pick up a brush in  those
studios of the past, until one perfected one's drawing skills to a certain
level that was acceptible to the master.  Such high standards are no long-
er held, and unfortunately, as a consequence, today, most, if not, all art
schools do not focus on the mastering of the craft of drawing.  Every suc-
cessive generation of art students draws less, and as a result, the quality
standard of drawing, in general, has declined to a measurable ( and dis-
graceful ) degree. And as a consequernce, the teachers and mentors be-
come even worse drawers, and each successive generation of so-called,
'artists', more pathetic. This is precisely why there is so little really good--
forget, 'great --drawing being done today.


My mentors have alway been the Old Masters; never celebrated contem-
porary artists.  I have copied my favorite Old Master drawings since I was
quite young, from good photo reproductions, from originals on museum
walls, and also from memory.  These drawing exercises ( every drawing I
do is an exercise of my skill ) have not only been a source of great inspir-
ation for me, but have proved to be my best teachers. Copying my favorite
Old Master drawings, in the spirit of the originals, with an eye for accura-
cy, and in the shortest time possible to the originals, has proved, over half
a century of drawing, to be most beneficial as an objective excercise to
test my eye and improve my drawing skills. Doing interpretations of my
favorite Old Master drawings from memory, or drawing 'in the manner' of
such and such a master, or school, has equally proved to be a way to not
only test and enhance my memory, but a method with which I have been
able to  broaden my imagination and expand my drawing repertoire.


Drawing in the spirit of a particular favorite Old Master draughtsman or a
particular school is a beneficial  exercise that is nearly impossible to put
into words. When doing these drawing exercises, I feel that I inherit the
emotive calligraphic personality and style of that particular favorite Old
Master draughtsman or school.  I have used these drawing excercizes   
(every drawing is an 'exercise' ) for over half a century to test my draught-
smanly skills.  My dedicated application to drawing and the study of Old
Master drawings has been in the same centuries-old, time-honored tradi-
tion that had beenused as a studio/apprentice practice between teacher
and studentfor half a millenia.  These drawings, done from memory, in the
spirit and manner of a favorite Old Master draughtsman, can be rightfully
classified as 'original' drawings in the very best sense of  that word ( ori-
ginal ).  For even the Old Masters borrowed subjects and compositions
from one another.  However, one thing that most artists today fail to do      
( but which I always remember to do ), is to give credit on the sheet as to
who the artist is I copied from, or  which  great draughtsman's work was
the inspiration for that particular drawing.


The Old Masters have remained to be my best teachers to this day, and I
will always go back to them to learn more, to be inspired, to gain sustain-
ance for my aesthetic eye. I don't have  to remind myself that there are no
great master draughtsmen ( not, 'draftsmen'! ) today. Those who think
they are, are just kidding themselves and others. Nor do I have to remind
myself, that compared to the great Rembrandt, Pietro Testa, Guercino,
Watteau, Fragonard, Hubert Robert, Toulouse-Lautrec, and a host of other
Old Master draughtsmen, I still have a long way to go before I can consi-
der myself  one of their protege, let alone, an artist whose best drawings
can be given the honor of being hung anywhere near one of those great
masters' works.  I'll be the very first to admit this.


On my one and only trip to London and the British Museum, I saw a David
Hockney hanging next to an Antoine Watteau. That was not only insulting
to my aesthetic ethic, but embarassing, for the two artists are leagues
apart.  Not only can Hockney not 'hold a candle', as they say,  to the great
Watteau, but this Post-Modernist trick to shrink the gap between a great
Old Master and a mediocre 'modern' 'wanna be', infuriated me. Further-
more, I have no hesitations suggesting, that next to my contemporaries  
(ie: Hockney, Marden, Twombly and Rothenberg ), I can say without any
need for a measure of humility, that I .feel confident that a great number of
my drawings would have been a better selection, and compliment to the
great Watteau.  Only history will tell, and the way that contemporary art
history has been so grossly wrong in judging twentieth century art, I can-
not hold my breath for any justice to be done, pertaiing to my own work


Compared to my contemporaries ( there may be a few candidates out there
somewhere, but I have not seen any for decades), I feel confident that I
have carried on the tradition of sound draughtsmanly skills that have been
passed on to me through my life-long dedication to drawing and my study
of Old Master drawings studies for half a century. The excellence that I
have strived for, and admittedly, only occasionally achieved in my draw-
ings, is a quality that is rare today.  If such a statement seems pompous, I
only need to remind the reader that there is a hoarde of artists out there
whose egos far surpass their talents.  Furthermore, I am confident that
there are a good number of my drawings that wouldn't embarrass me if
they were hung, maybe not next to the work of Leonardo, Rembrandt,
Holbein the Elder and Younger brothers or the elder Tiepolo and his two
sons, but perhaps, next to the drawings of Francesco Guardi, Magnasco,
Ingres, Gericault or Delacroix, and those of Manet, Monet and Pissaro, Van
Gogh and Gauguin, Matisse, and Toulouse-Lautrec, and most certainly,
next to the work of Picasso.


For those readers who might wonder how I can make such statements,  
the bare facts should do.  The mere eighty drawings of mine on the web-
site, hartfineart.com, are suffcient enough to represent my abilities as a
draughtsman.  My private extant hoard of well over twenty-one thousand  
(21,000 ) drawings, representing an total drawing oeuvre of approximately
thirty thousand ( 30,000 ) drawings done in the last half century ( Picasso
did between 13,000 and 14,000 drawings, and , Van Gogh, somewhere be-
tween six and eight ) is both my credential and license to both criticise and
judge any of my contemporaries' drawings, as well as the drawings of any
artist of the past. The selection of eighty drawings of mine on the website,
hartfineart.com, is but a 'drop in the bucket', compared to the vast range
and repertoire of my drawing oeuvre. I could have just as well, shut my
eyes and picked those eighty drawings.


One of the real tests for any artist, is drawing portraits and the nude from
life. I have always enjoyed drawing the figure from life, and have done so
for over four decades. Painting portraits from life in one sitting without
first having to summarily 'sketch-in' the proportions and features first  
('privo basso e finito alla prima') has been  one of my fortes', so to speak.  
Very few artists of my generation ever learned  how to do this.  Nor is the
anatomy correct in their figure drawings. A great number of my contemp-
oraries draw hands and feet very poorly, and  rarely do I see an objective
portrait, in the sense that not only are the proportions in the physiognomy
correct, as well as all of the anatomical details, but that there is a recog-
nizable psychological depiction of the sitter's character revealed, as the
great draughtsman/painter, Rembrandt was such a master at.  Drawing the
figure and hands and feet from life and from memory will certainly separ-
ate the men from the boys, so to speak, and the real draughtsmen from
the so-called, 'draftsmen'.


Larry Rivers, David Hockney, Cy Twombley and Brice Marden are four
good examples of artists of my generation and the previous one who nev-
er learned how to draw well.  Rivers once admitted that he "never got the
eyes right", and then went on to say that he capitalized on his drawing
deficien- cies to create a 'style' for himself.  But Johns was right about one
thing. when he said that "Most artists, when they realize hat they'll never  
become another 'Rembrandt', settle for a personalized style that is easy,
comfortable, and marketable".  All of the above four 'artists', as well as at
least two, maybe, three generations of 'artists' ( with very few exceptions )
have settled for the same compromised measure of their own limitations.   


And David Hockney is another 'artist' who has made the same kind of con-
fession in so many words or less.  Mr. Hockney "had always wondered
why his generation never learned how to draw very well".  Well, Hockney
should speak for himself.  For the record, Hockney used this excuse in his
bogus theory that Ingres used a camera obscura to do his graphite port-
raits, because he ( Hockney ) never learned how to draw well. Cy Twom-
bly's 'chicken scratches' and scribbly 'marks on paper' speak for themsel-
ves, as well as do Rothenberg's childish 'smudges' and Brice Marden's
pretentious 'doodles'.


Hockney is terribly deluded and wrong about his theory on Ingres' use of a
camera obscura.  In truth, Ingres may have relied on the use of such a de-
vice to lay-out, or, sumarily sketch-in his portraits' figures, just as most
artists, since day one, first 'sketched-in' the proportions of the figure.
Surely after sketching-in the basic proportioms of the portrait, Ingres then
discarded the camera obscura ( if he did use one ), and then completed
the drawing without the aid of the device. Compared to the great  Ingres'
portraits, Hockney's look 'fish-eyed', and very two-dimmensional  ( they
look flat ).  Ingres' faces, on the other hand, have a delicacy and poetry
that is deftly and delicately executed in the way that only a consumate
veteran draughtsman can accomplish.  Ingres' portraits exude a love for
drawing in addition to a 'loving touch', whereas Mr. Hockney's (Hackney's)
portraits are stiff, contrived, forced, and lack the true 'signature' of real
genius. The mistake that artists of my generation and younger have made,
is that they have used poor drawers ( like Rivers and Hockney), and worse
artists, like Cy Twombley and Brice Marden ) as mentors and rle models.  
One thing which they most certainly are not.  When the painter, Julian
Schnabel said that he was "the greatest artist since  Pablo Picasso"  ( I lit-
erally, wanted to puke!).  Who is he kidding?  It is obvious that Schnabel's
ego and self-agrandizing sales pitches  are unrealistc in proportion to his
talent as a drawer, which when good, is always the best and only real
foundation for any good painting . Celebrity artists living the self delusion
of an ego-inflated dreamworld overly proportioned to their individual
talents talents.  Most 'artists' do.


To say that I can draw (and paint) circles around Rivers, Hockney, Schna-
bel and the likes of Cy Twombley, blindfolded, is not just an understate-
ment, but it is being being both modest and honest.  I have no qualms in
aying this. My drawing oeuvre speaks volumes on this subject. And, I'll be
the first to admit that I have no 'degree' in art. What do I need one for?  It
would help to sell myself and my work, and the cards are already political-
ly-rigged against me.  My drawings should and do, I'd expect, speak for
themselves.  My problem has never been an ego-driven creativity, afame
well beyond and aove my limitations as a draughtsman, but more a lack of
having a forceful and useful ego for such purposes and an unwillingness
or inabilty to sell my creative productivity.  damant to not relinquish the
products of my 'blood, sweat and tears' to art dealers for 'fifty percent',
and persons who would sell and celebritize my name for their own profit
and name. I have chosen not to settle to be just-another 'cattle car to the
slaughter house' for their exploitive schemes and self-agrandizement.  I
understand perfectly well that that is the way that the artworld works.  But
the real measure of one's ability as an artist is quite separate from whether
one has made a name for oneself, or not.  I had a choice between focusing
my life on perfecting my craft, instead of settling for producing  'pot-boiler
series', one after the other, just to 'show', and make a quick profit and
early 'name' for myself, and devoting my life to drawing, when and if I felt
like it.  Not because a dealer gave me a deadline for a show, nor because I  
had to show at all. And maybe becausnot being able ( or willing ) to make a
'living' as an 'artist' I always drew because I had to for it was I, the Id I do
not regret having done so., and more than just likely, my genetic memory


At the age forty, I went back to academia to get my 'degree' ( I never did
finish it ). After having had drawn and painted independently for twenty
years, and, I might add, having been thinking circuitously (as opposed to
Acade- mia's linear-thinking regime ) for just as long, it was literally, like
going back to kindergarten.  I realized then, that I didn't need a degree as a
lic- ense to call myself an 'artist' ( which, by the way, I never made a habit
of doing anyway ). and that my best drawing teacher at that stage of the
game, was myself.  Nor did I need some art rag or some graduate school-
degreed art critic's subjective mumbo-jumbo rhetoric to tell me or any one
else which of my drawings are good ones and which are the not so good
ones.  I have always destroyed my bad drawings, and still do to this day    
( which is something Picasso should have done with some of his). Just for
the record, Herni-Marie-Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa was the last
great draughtsman, and not, Pablo Picasso.


This might sound like I have a few 'bones to pick', so to speak.  Well, I'll be
the first to admit that, yes, I do have a few bones to pick, and probably al-
ways will have, as long as there are mediocre 'artists', like Larry Rivers,
David Hockney ( Hackney ), Julian Schnabel, and Cy Twombly, celebrated
and touted as 'masters'.  And, just for the record, I not only have the right,
but the credentials to make such statements.  My vast, extant drawing
oeuvre of over twenty-one thousand drawings ( not to mention, yet anoth-
er eight or nine thousand drawings lost, misplaced, destroyed ( by me ), or
stolen in the course of four decades ) are precisely my credentials that
give me the license and the right to criticize my contemporaries' work,  
when, by far, the vast majority of the 'recognized' and celebrated 'artists'
today, never really learned how to draw in the first place ( forget about,
how to paint!).

I could already draw and paint better than any and all of my teachers when
I was in school. Today, a so-called, 'Masters Degree' is a joke. Rarely, if
ever, have I seen a drawing by a holder of a Masters Degree (or a Phd, for
that matter), that impressed  me as a sample of good draughtsmanship, let
al- one, really 'great' daughtsmanship.  I've given up long ago, looking at
what my contemporaries are doing.  It never fails that I am disappointed.
As a seasoned, consumate veteran draughtsman, I feel that I have left both
my generation and my so-called, 'contemporaries' in the dust, so to speak.


I will admit that I do not have the patience anymore to render a figure as
'perfectly' as I did in college, nearly a half century ago, and that there are
many art students who can do a good rendering of the figure in some art
schools that have classes that focus on 'perfectly' drawing of the figure.
There are figure drawing classes in art schools that are predominantly
three hour sessions devoted to one drawing of one figure.  Some of those
'renderings' can be very beautiful, but a 'rendering' is not the same thing
as a 'drawing'. If I can execute a  well-proportioned figure that displays,
not just the same character and physiognomy of the model, but that also
is em- buded with an emotive power that is my own original drawing style, I
see no good reason to take hours to do a rendering that will have had lost
its life well before the three, two, or one hour it took to do, when, in just
ten, five, two, or one minute's time is all I need to accomplish what I have
set out to do?  So often, contemporary renderings of the human figure are
lifeless and do not show a realistic 'atmospheric imitation' of a live figure.


My extant drawing ouvre of well over twenty-one thousand  drawings ( out
of an estimated 30,000 created in the last four decades), includes hund-
reds, if not, thousands of figure studies from life. This is evidence and
proof of my credentials as a draughtsman ( not, 'draftsman'! ) , as well as
license to make such a statement. And yet, the names of such celebrated
and inflated talents, as David Hockney ( Hackney), Jim Dine, Brice Marden,
Susan Rothenberg, and god forbid, the likes of Basquiat and Cy Twombly   
( the list is way too long to list all of the charlatan 'artists', here), are men-
tioned in the same sentence, and expressed in the same breath as such
truly great, unequaled  Old Master draughtsmen as del Sarto, Leonardo,
the great Rembrandt, Guercino, Watteau, Ingres, and Toulouse-Lautrec     
( and the list is way too long to include here, as well ).  But that is how the
charlatan Post Modernist art critics appropriate literary and aesthetic
license for themselves, and largese artistic title to promote, glorify, and
entrench in art history books a name for themselves and their 'pseudo-art-
ists', using Post-Modernist art rhetoric that inflates same mediocre talents,
And in doing so, the ego-inflated promoters of bad art bring the great Old
Masters down to their level, by hanging 'Hockneys' next to 'Watteaus'.  
What else is new?  


Let us just take a good look at the word 'draughtsman', as an example of
how the language has been pedestrianized and bastardized by Post Mod-
ernist rhetoric, and how art critics, museum curators, and artists alike,
have misappropriated certain words, redefined and misdefined them to
suit their own personal agendas, in order to perpetuate their own false
theories and misguided egos, and in doing so, have encrust their own fu-
ture status quos.  And in consequence, unfortunately, each successive
generation of art students and art teachers alike. have been mis and dis-
informed and wrongly educated.  The so-called, 'very best' art schools
have promulgated and perpetuated mis and diseducation practices for de-
cades now, and the Ivy League schools are nototoriosly setting the exam-
ple, by making up bogus Post-Modernst scholarship as they go along.


In the mid to late nineteen-eighties, museum curators across the country
collectively decided to change the spelling of the word 'draughtsman', and
switch the word to 'draftsman'.  Who's idea this was, or who started the
trend of deconstructing the ethical base of the aesthetic language of art, is
anyone's guess, but the linguistical confusion and problems created by
this decision, should be obvious to anyone with an objective mind and an
intelligent perspective of the qualitative standards used for centuries to
measure the aesthetic criteria of drawings, and art, in general.


For starters, the word 'draftsman', does not have the same definition or
meaning as the older word, 'draughtsman'.  This should be basic fifth
grade knowledge, yet, even standard American language dictionaries ( ie:
Webster's Standard and American Collegeate), neither give us separate
mean- ings and defintions of these two words, nor do they come anywhere
close to clueing-in the reader that they are indeed two different words all
together. Contrary to contemporary Post Modernist thought, the word
'draftsman', as i has been used, is a misnomer. Yet the everyday common
usage of this fairly rercently adopted spelling ( draftsman ), has almost be-
come law in art and museum circles to such a great extent, that, as a con-
sequence, the word 'draughtsman', which has been used for centuries to
describe one who draws exceptionally well, has not only been threatened
with obsoletion, but nearly tossed onto the trash bin in the process ( and
that most certainly would be a very sad day, indeed ).


The true meaning and definition of the word 'draftsman' is--and this is my
own definition--: "one who uses drafting tools, such as a T-square, trian-
gles, compasses, mechanical pencils, 'french curves' and anassorted num-
ber of templates to make mechanical drawings; such tools are used by in-
dustrial and product designers, interior decorators and designers, arche-
tects, cartographers and landscapists, highway engineers, city planners,
and layout designers, for printed publications, all of which use what is
commonly  known as a 'drafting table', or 'drafting board'." This list just
names the most common designer professions wherein 'drafters' are em-
ployed for their mechanical drafting skills, as well as their creative design
acumen.  Just as the term 'artist' is commonly approprited by and for any-
one who is creative, the pretentious terms, 'draftsperson' and 'draftswo-
man', have been pretentiously adopted by Post Modernist artists and art
critics, to mean just about anyone who draws, doodles, scribbles, or
makes 'marks on paper' ( another pretentious Post Modernist term ).


American English dictionaries are even more egregious by not giving us a
proper definition for the word 'draughtsman'.  For well over five hundred
years, a time-honored tradition and respect for the word 'draughtsman'
has been upheld by an unbroken line of master artists who drew excep-
tionally well. The word 'excellent' comes to mind, but that word, too, has
been so pedestrianized and turned into a common cliche ( like the word,
'artist' ), by the Post Modernist 'language botchers'.  I literally cringe when
the word 'artist' is used today.  It has no meaning anymore, anfd I rarely. if
ever use it.  I've known persons who mop floors and clean toilets better
than most persons who call themselves. 'artists', paint.  Unfortunately,
modern English dictionaries, especially, the American types ( the most
egregious being, Websters' American Collegeate, and Standard Diction-
aires), will be of no help to anyone determined to find a good definition of
the word 'draughtsman'.  Therefore, I would like to posit the definition:
"one who draws  prolifically, with skill and ease, an emotive power and
intelligent vision, and a virtuosity and verisimilitude that displays both a
foundational knowledge of the craft and its mediums ( not, 'medias'!), as
well as a consumate expertise and knowledge of the history of Old Master
drawings."


What the Post Modernist art critics and theorists did, was to unconscien-
ably exchange the word 'draughtsman' for the word 'draftsman'.  By doing
so, they literally, cut-out the middleman ( the aesthete), and in the process,
threw out the true draughtsman with the baby and the bath, so to speak.  
Maybe they have done this because the word draughtsman is commonly
misspelled, but that is doubtful, and no good reason to have done what
they did.  Even if their intentions were good ( which I doubt ), it is no ex-
cuse for the damage they have done.  Which was basically to 'muddy the
waters' so to speak, and remove any literal obstacles that might not give
credence to bad drawing, in general.  And I strongly suspect that their real
reason was to pedestrianize the word 'draughtsman' ( by changing the
spelling to 'draftsman'), so that its usage could include all so-called,'marks
on paper', yet another nebulous term, which use, in time has proved to en-
compass any type of mark, scratch, scribble and doodle.  In other words,
to broaden the market for art in general.  And unfortunately, as a conse-
quence, few persons now know the difference between a good 'drawing'
and a mere 'sketch', a good drawing and a 'scribble' or mere 'doodle'.  And
this is precisely what has happened in the course of the last two and a half
decades.  Lines have been blurred ( no pun intended ), mindless scribbling
and doodling have become drawing 'genres', so to speak, and anything
can be called, 'drawing'.  One only needs to take a look at the so-called,
'contemporary art' scene today, to see that at this stage of the game, it
beats 'a poke in the eye with a stick', as the saying goes, but just barely.  


Things are almost always more complicated than they seem, and I suspect
a more insidious covert intent ( whether concious or unconscious)--it real-
ly makes no difference--promulgated by contemporary art dealers and cur-
ators.  In the nineteen-eighties, there was very little, if any, really good art
being done and there was an overabudance of bad art, so the brain-storm
of the art market speculators and investors  ( read, art dealers, collectors
and museum curators ( was to capitalize on the rareity of good art and the
surplus of bad art. At the same time, there was a more conscious ( and
shameless ) intent, and that was to declassify, as it were, a very rare spec-
ialized, and privileged category of artist, once reserved only for thosemas-
ter artists who proved themselves to be the very best drawers, throughout
history.  Basically, that now extinct breed of draughtsman. In the process
of switching the perfecly good word, 'draughtsman' with the word 'drafts-
man', and relegating the former to near oblivion, the lines between excelle-
nce and mediocrity have been officially blurred.  Another touche' for the
deconstivists of our modernday 'culture'.


As a consequence, and detriment to maintaining quality standards in, not
just drawing, but art, in general, the lines were blurred and erased ( in
many people's minds ) between the Old Masters and the so-called,'modern
mas- ters' ( note. the lower case 'm's ) by the Post-Modernist cult.  Yet, I
will maintain ( and argue ) that there is no such thing as a 'modern master'  
( 'modern masturbatur', yes ).  It is obvious that the final result ( and pur-
pose ) of this 'word-switch' ( from 'draughtsman' to 'draftsman' ) being,
that now, such mediocre talents  as Basquiat, Rothenberg, David Hockney
and Cy Twombly, and at least two, maybe three generations of mediocre
artists who have followed, can and do align themselves next to the Old
Masters, to give themselves more credibility as artists.  The relativist 'art-
speak' culture has appropriated license for themslves to include more me
diocre artists, labels them as 'masters', and everybody involved in the art
game, profits by the scam.


Whatever the real purpose  might have been to change the perfectly good
word, 'draughtsman' to the word 'draftsman', the results have been disas-
terous.  Present day usage of the two words have been far from consist-
ent, let alone, uniform.  Both spellings are used indiscriminately and inap-
propriately, and, on a vast scale.  And, as a consequence, the once, relev-
ant and meaningful word 'draughtsman', has been relegated to the nebu-
lous and purile world of Post-Modernist mumbo-jumbo limbo.


The blatantly obvious confusing misusage of the two words,'draughtsman'
and" 'draftsman', is compounded by their popular irresponsible inadvert
ant and subjectivist and relativist usage in art journal publicatons, Old
Master drawing auction catalogues, art museum and art journal publica-
tions.  For one like myself, who loves Old Master drawings and deplores
contemporary 'draftsmen', this is especially annoying.  But what is espe-
cially remarkable, and what makes matters even worse, there is the perpe-
tuated dual usage and confusion of the two words in museum curatorial
circles, by the very people who helped create the problem in the first place
and who should have not been comlicit in promulgating it in the first place,
or at least stop- ped it and corrected it instead of perpetuting it before it
got out of hand.  This confusing ( and contagious ) misusage, and the
pedestrianization, gentrification, bastardization and genericization of two
separate words which once had altogether different qualitative definitions,
not to mention, separate aesthetic definitions and meanings, as well, is not
unique in the relativist rhetorical mumbo-jumboed Post and Post-Post- Mo-
dernist artworld, where five hundred years of art plumbing and ethical
aesthetic has been totally deconstructed, and ultimately, destroyed.  The
baby has literally, been tossed out with the bath, so to speak. At this stage
of the game, thirty years down the road from the initial inception of the
problem ( when Post-Modernist 'art theory' was invented ), the confusion
and damage is almost irreversible. The result is that at least two or three,
or perhaps, more generations of artists, art critics, art dealers and collec-
tors, and museum curators are absolutely clueless as to what draughts-
manship is, or for that matter, what drawing is. This truly is a sad state of
affairs.


Common misusages of art terms have compounded the problem of having
to deal with a pseudo-intellectual, concocted Post-Modernist mish-mosh
'artspeak' that has both brainwashed and damaged the judgement and
thinking of a large percentage of the artist population, as well as museum
and gallery personnel, not to even mention, the general public at large.  Of
course, glorified Academia and the mis and disinforming mainstream med-
ia are to blame, as well, for the general corruption of a once time-honored
valued art aesthetic ethic. And as in consequence, many artists are mis
and diseducated to a large degree as to what good  draughtsmanship
really is, and therefore, never really ever learn how to draw well.  They
make 'marks on paper', instead.  At least two generations of artists have
never been taught how to draw well, nor have they educated themselves
as to the differences between 'sketching' and  real drawing, and 'render-
ings', or what is best categorized as 'illustration' or 'design'.  In fact, most
'artists', or contemporary art museum curators,wouldn't know a good
dawing ( or good painting, for that matter ) from a bad one, if it fell off the
wall and hit them on the head.  As a result of Academia's 'dropping the
ball', so to speak, any kind of scratch, scribble, or doodle will generally
suffice as 'art', and so will any kind of ( how I detest such cliche'd non-
sense! ) so-called, 'marks on paper', that are no more sophisticated ( let
alone, calligraphic ) than marks on bathroom tissue flushed down the toil-
et.   


It is most unfortunate, that any kind of childish doodle, scratch or scribble
can be called a 'drawing'.  I cannot help, but bristle when the two words,
'drawing' and 'sketching' are used unintelligently and indiscriminately.
Which, by the way, has provoked me to define the word, 'sketching', as
"what people do who cannot draw".  A more specific, and more acceptible
definition for the word 'sketch', would be: "a quickly dashed-out summary
layout or design of a subject ( or composition) to later be developed, resol-
ved and redefined to completion".


Whichever choice of words artists choose to use, sketching', simply, is
not the same thing as 'drawing', and, neither are so-called, 'marks on pa-
per'.  Sadly enough, no one has, as far as I know, addressed this problem,
and when I do bring the subject up, eyebrows are raised, eyes glaze-over,
and the resistance I get is the same as when I bring up the subject of the
John F. Kennedy assassinatioin.  And in consequence, I either risk losing
another friend ( or potential friend ), or I end up arguing my point til I am
blue in the face, usually to someone who doesn't have a clue as to what I
am talking about, or, for that matter, what they think they know what they
are talking about.


The word 'drawing' is also commonly missused and applied to what can
better be defined and classified as 'renderings' and 'illustrations'.  Albeit
confusing, it can be argued that the latter two words are in some instan-
ces, interchangeable, but still, separate definitions can and should be ob-
jectively applied.  If a definitive separation is necessary between the two
words, 'renderings' and 'illustrations'--and I think it is--, one could say that
an 'illustration' can be either a drawing in the truest sense of that word,  
accompanying, or 'illustrating' a text, book, magazine or newspaper article,
(or poster ), and that a 'rendering', per se, is an over-worked drawing, to
the point that every detail  is obsessively ( and pedantically ) executed to
where there is neither the illusion of what can be termed, 'depth perspec-
tive atmosphere', nor the 'emotive calligraphy' which is the 'signature' of a
true draughtsman that is found in every great drawing.


The misuse and commonly misapplied understanding of the words, 'draw-
ing', 'sketch", "illustration' and 'rendering', are compounded by the perpe-
tuation of the mis and diseducation of, literally, generations of artists, as
well as museum curators, art critics and scholars, not to  even mention,
the gross ignorance of the general public. To compound the problem even
more, American dictionaries contribute to the perpetuation of the mish-
mosh use of these artist's terms by not defining them properly.  Words
which have truly definite and quite separate meanings and definitions, that
can be clarified and used universally, are commonly misued casually and
indiscriminately. The fact that the true meanings of these words have been
so misunderstood, and their usages so generally misapplied for a good
two and a half decades now, proves my point.  An apathy in the artworld
has been created, that legitimizes the relativist mindset of this mindless
Post-Modernist trend. 'Good' artists are a dime a dozen and no one dare
do any critical thinking. let alone, any objective criticism. That would be
too 'negative'  At this stage of the game,no one seems to want to bother to
address the problem  anymore.  It is part and parcel of the systematic
burial of what I'd like to call, an 'aesthetic ethic'.  


Sadly enough, what barely remains of an almost lost craftsman/artist aes-
thetic, has long ago been replaced with the pseudo-aesthetic of a pseudo-
culture.  And in consequence, quality drawing standards, as well as, literal'
ly, centuries-tested and honored art criteria and parameters for main tain-
ing a standard of quality in art, have been adulterated and bastardized, per
se, and 'the bar', so to speak, has been lowered to where just about any-
thing can be accepted as 'drawing', including, strings hung from ceilings.  
Anything and everything is 'art', which sadly enough, gives everyone the
license to be an 'artist' and 'make art', including everyone's grandmother
and fashionable teenaged daughter. And, thanks to the likes of John Cage,
who once said, "Everything is art and everyone is an artist" ( he should
have been taken out back and shot! ), the baby has been thrown out with
the bath.  


It is not surprising then, that somone as myself, who has both drawn all of
his life and studied Old Master drawings, might fear that the true draught-
sman is an extinct species, or nearly so, and that I might as well accept
the fact that the death of good drawing has been a reality, long ago. None-
theless, I would and will not, let the aesthetic ethic of true draughtsman-
ship die and R.I.P.  Not when the illegitimacy of Post-Modernist pseudo-
culture's nonaesthetic has continued to pretend that they don't know
where the corpse is burried.  To give-in and go-along with this Post-Mod-
rnist sham, would be like for me to disregard ( or forget ) everything I have
learned and know to be true, and to cynically accept the bald-faced lie that
Lee Harvey Oswald killed John F. Kennedy.  An art ethic is no more some-
thing to take for granted, or disregarded, than a political ethic.  Having had
had to listen to the 'forked tongues' of politicians the last near half cen-
tury, and put up with the mainstream media's mis and disinformation cam-
paign for just as long, it became natural for me to adopt the same uncom-
promising critical standards when judging drawiing and art, as well as ev-
erything I read, or see that is man-made. It is only natural then that I have
tried to live by an aesthetic ethic that can be measured, as opposed to a
pseudo-theoretical art philosophy based Post-Modernism.  Drawing has
been my religion, so to speak, and the Old Master draughtsmen, my
Gods.  


It is unfortunate, indeed, that quality standards for real draughtsmanship
have been lowered so, but for starters, one can begin by asking oneself,
where has good draughtsmanship gone, when did good drawing disap-
pear, and counterfits replace it?  I have already addressed the question as
to who is to blame. Our best chance is to go back in history to see where
things went wrong; the art fashions and trends, the art critics there.  Cer-
tainly, the German Expressionist School is partly to blame; there is much
bad drawing there.  And, it is obvious that the coiners of the so-called,
'Abstract Expressionist' and 'Pop Art 'schools', and the 'Post-Modernist'  
'movement'  ( read: 'bowel' ), and these trendy movements' promoters
have contibuted greatly to the decline of art (see Francis Stonor-Saunders'
informative books, 'The Cultural Cold War' and 'Who Paid The Piper' ).  
Francis Stoner-Saunders' two enlightening exposes, proved that the CIA
promoted Abstract Expressionism, by purchasing 14,000 Abstract Expres-
sionist works through the Rockefeller Foundation and the Chase Manhat-
tan Bank, and 'planting' CIA people on the Museum of Modern Art's board
of trustees  "to kill the social content in American art". My revelation and
theory, that Pop Art had same covert backing to promote capitalism, can-
not be that far-fetched, since the Vietnam war was a ruse to expand Wes-  
tern Capitalism, as well.  In fact, I have researched, and identified more
than just a few  Pop Art' celebrities, Post-Modernists and contemporary
'artists', as well, who were formerly Military Intelligence and CIA personnel.
Academia has ben embedded with CIA and Military Intelligence people for
decades. One can also argue that Post-Modernism was used to destroy
whatever remnants of cultural aesthetics that were left ( kind of like the
last nail in the coffin ).


In the final analysis, every generation is responsible for their own contrib-
ution to raising or lowering aestetic standards. All I can do, is share my
own ideas and the sources of my autodidactic art education that have not
just influenced my way of thinking, but confirmed certain truths that I had
independently arrived at through a half century of drawing and studying
Old Master drawings.  In this life-long process of self-education, decades
of writng about art and aesthetics has been accelerated by a method call-
ed 'raciocination'.  It is a process, whereby one uses a detective's investi-
gative method (as Conan Doyle and his Sherlock Holmes did ), using one's
investigative and research methods to inspire, and in turn, inspiration to
fuel one's desire to do more research and investigation.  A desire to learn
more is created, and one's detective research feeding inspiration, and vis
versa, and both, in turn, fuel one's passion for the search for the truth.  I
began using the methodlogy of raciocination well over forty years, ago
wnen I first became interested in stone tools and lithic technology.  I then
applied same method to the study of art, as well as politics and history.


The problem is, that most artists do not seriously study Old Master draw-
ings in a critical way. Nor do they learn to draw by copying from, and 'in-
terpreting' Old Master drawings, in order to develop their drawing skills
and build an aesthetic repertoire and memory to draw from.  To compound
the problem, Post-Modernist doctrinary methods neither teach nor encour-
age students of art to commit themselves to making any objective, qualita-
tative judgements about drawing.  It is all too easy to not be objectively
critical of one's own art because if one did, one would have to do some-
thing about it.  It is much easier and safer to be subjective or relativistic.  
That way, no one will get hurt and no one is better than anyone else.  It is
an open playing field, everyone can 'be an artist', and no one steps on
anybody's toes. What is the best constructive criticism of any work of art,
is a critical accessment, that stresses the negative, what is weak, or miss-
ing, that if improved or added, would make it a better work. But 'negative'
criticism is off-bounds in art journals, newspapers and art scholaship. And
as a result of a culture encouraging bad art, it is no wonder that there is
so much of it. And it is not surprising that really great draughtsmanship--in
the very highest standards of that word--is such a rare thing today


I have been writing for four decades now, enough writing to fill nine feet of
shelf space of hand-written material ( on both sides of the paper ). Much
of the art criticism I have written, often touches upon social and political
criticism.  Writing and drawing have been the two sides of an obsessive
hypergraphicism that has been a way of life for me. And by moving 'the
looking glass', so to speak, I have been able to apply the same ethical
tenets I apply to aesthetics ( ie: art, music, poetry and literature ), that I
apply to history and politics.  In the course of my studies, I have also dis-
covered that often, the same mis and disinformation techniques used to
distort the truth and political agendas, and to obfuscate the trail back to
the facts of history, are also used in art history circles as well. Academia's,
and the CIA's publishing houses ( along with the mainstream media ),have
been rewriting ( and burying ) history, as well as deconstruc- ting ( and
destroying ) the centuries-honored art aesthetic in our culture.


We have been told that here is no such thing as a 'bad Rembrandt', but no
art 'connoisseurs' or art historians mention that Rembrandt probably de-
stroyed his worst drawings, and that there are probably many Rembrandt
drawings not 'up to par' to be attributed to that master, that are attributed
to his students. This is not to say that Rembrandt did any bad drawings.  I,
for one, do not believe that he ever did. I am sure it has been suggested  
that Rembrandt may have been a Jew. I believe that he may have been,
considering all of the biblical subjects in the artist's oeuvre.  He may very
well have been, but to even suggest that he was, considering the demoni-
zation of Jews throughout history ( and esecially, during the Nazi era ),
would have caused the destruction of hundreds, if not, thousands of great
works of art by Rmembrandt.  Picasso's family's Catholocism may also
have been a 'cover' for their being Jews, as well.  When one considers that
the Southwestern United States' Hispanic population are really descend-
ants of the Moors ( read, 'Jews' ), and that they have hidden under the
guise of Catholicism for centuries, such possibilities are not that farfetch-
ed.  If the word got out during the Nazi era that Rembrandt ( or Picasso )
were Jews, there wouldn't be many 'Rembrandts' or Picassos' these days.


Politics have played a major role in art since antiquity. To believe that any-
thing has changed in that respect, would be naive.  Pablo Picasso has
been sold as the 'greatest artist of the twentieth century'.  He was most
certainly, the most prolific, for sure.  But as a draughtsman, he couldn't
'hold a can- dle' next to Toulouse Lautrec. One can argue that Toulouse
Lautrec was indeed the last of the truly great draughtsmen, and not,
Picasso.  Most so- called, 'art lovers' have seen a handful of coffee table
books on Picasso and they indiscriminately either, 'love' everything
Picasso did, or think that his art is simply terrible. Most don't realize  that
it takes some serious study and research of the artist's oeuvre to know
that there are 'bad', as well as 'good' Picassos. The fact that the Russian
collectors of Modern art in the beginning of the twen- tieth century chose
Picasso over Pavlova to be the next great artist' to champion, goes to
show that even an artist's sex can be a bargaining chip.  


There have always been political motives that bury certain aspects of art-
ists' lives in the art biography and art history books.  The great influence
of drugs in the 'discovery' of Cubism  ( Picasso's 'synthetic cubism' style,
and Dali's surrealism, in particular ) have are never talked about by art
historians.  Why is this, when Tulouse-Lautrec's, Chaim Soutine's, and
Amedeo Modigliani's characters have literally, been 'dragged through the
mud' so to speak, because of those artists' alchohol and drug addictions?  
I believe that both Picasso and Dali lied when they denied that they ever
took drugs or that they played any role in their art. There is much docu-
mented evidence in the biographical exposes of Picasso and his 'gang' by
some of the artist's friends and contemporaries, that prove the contrary.  
Anyone who has smoked hashish, can see that Picasso's 'synthetic cub-
ism' style was baically. influenced by the drug,  Also, there is at least one,
maybe, two, or more obvious psychedelic paintings that the artist did that
look like LSD experiments. Anyone who has taken LSD, cannot miss the
psychedelic evidence in much of the artwork of Salvador Dali, that strong-
ly suggests that it was created during or after a 'trip'.Then, there is the
great posibility that the French Impressionist 'experimented' with psyche-
delic mushrooms, and the fact that one of the strongest influeces on the
invention of Abstract Expessionism, was alchohol.


The Social Realism of the thirties was no different in the sense that the
same kind of political agendas throughout history have redefined what art
is and what 'good' drawing is. The Baroque and Rococco, Neo-Classical,
and Romantic, Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, Russian Constructivist
and Surrealist schools were no different than any schools of art that came
latre, in that they were first, either, politically supressed, or, socially ( or
aesthetically ) tabood, and later exploited for capital gain. The Baroque
and Rococo artists were promoted only if they got on the bandwagon of
the Church's political agenda, and painted what the church wanted.  The
Neo-Classical school was a Napoleonic 'propaganda agenda', as much as
the USSR's 'social realism' was for communism. The ony difference be-
tween the earlier schools of art and the more modern ones, is that the for-
mer, regardless of politics, never compromised their aesthetc ethics,
whereas the latter, almost all, have.


It should be obvious to anyone who is involved in the artworld, that the
collecting of art as a commodity and investment has compounded the
prob- em. Aesthetics are 'relevant, and 'bad art' is 'great art'.  Good draw-
ing and good painting skills have been upstaged by so-called 'performance
art'. Piles of dirt on the floor is 'sculpture', and cartoonish scribbles and
'marks on paper', is 'drawing'. The political and social message in a work
of art, now takes precedence over good drawing and good painting skills.
Self in- dulgent adolescent expressions have subborned and co-opted true
artistic skills, intellegent vision and real talent. Forget, 'genius'. That word
too has been co-opted.  And in consequence, mediocre art has preempted
good art and real draughtsmanship has fallen to the wayside, and obscur-
ity.  Good drawig skills have become secondary, or tertiary, or worse--
obsolete.  Good drawing and painting skills have taken a back seat to any
form of neurotic personal expression, no matter how mundane or imbecil-
ic.  And. sadly enough, contemporary art ( it doesn't even deserve a capi-
tal C in my book), and the standards for drawing, have, on the whole, only
gotten progressively, and, degeneatively, worse in the last half century or
more. Along with the pseudo- cultural politicalization of anything called
'art', we have seen a homogination of politics and history, and the arts and
literature.  Patsies are 'assassins', boozers are 'poets', anyone who writes
is a 'writer', and everyone is an 'artist'.  Being critical is 'negative', aesthe-
tics are 'relative', everything is 'art', and the last word, is either 'cool' or
'awesome'.  The so-called, 'artworld' today, is as vacuous and pathetic as
the movie industry is  blatantly dumbing-down every successive genera-
tion with its cliche'ed  violence-ridden ( and 'sanitized history ) propagan-
da, it's reality-deconstructing science fiction, and cartoon imbecilities. The
so-called, 'artworld' today is simply, a joke.


Of Course, other influences have backfired and increased the decline in
the quality of drawing and painting over the last half century or so. For
example, the Feminist Movement gave women power in the art editorial
and publishing fields, and as a consequence, it can be argued that fashion
and trend have co-opted qualty aesthetic criteria used in the judgement of
art in many art and antique journals, and the contemporary art curatorial
field, as well.. Perhaps it is just the influence of money ( and a monied
Academic degree ) that is the problem, but other factors too have to be
considered. It can be argued that Academia is the main culprit in degrading
the aesthetic standards that have served artists as a guide and code for
centuries. The political and ecnomic agendas that promoted Abstract Ex-
pressionism, Pop Art, and the obsiquious Post-Modernist movement that
seems to have thrown out the 'baby with the bath', so to speak, have had
destructive consequences on our culture. The difference between Renais-
sance times and now is that quality craftsmanship, draughtsmanly skills
and an intelligence of vision, have been totally compromised by the cult of
personality, business skills, social and political connections and fashions
and trends.   But it is not just the contemporary artworld that has been
corrupted. The trail back to the true meaning of 'good drawing', like the
histories of politics ( or assassinations ), has been obfuscated by a politi-
cized agenda and a pseudo-elitist trend of Post-Modernist subjectivism,
relativist thinking, and deconstructivist ideology.


Whether my informed opinions on drawing or about art are taken serious-
ly by any artist, does at times make me wonder if I am not just 'kicking a
dead horse' here ( or 'pissing in the wind' ).  But then, I write for the same
reasons that I have contined to draw for over half a century--because I
have to. Over nine running feet of shelf space, filled with holographic writ-
ing (on both sides of the paper), is testament to my dedication to my writ-
ing, which I might add, is comparable, if not equal to my dedication to my
drawing.  Of course, one endeavor always occupies my time over the
other.  Unfortunately, I am dedicated to both, and for periods of time, my
drawing has suffered as a consequence because of my compulsive obses-
sive hypergraphic need to write. And perhaps, art criticism may not be my
job, and that I should just draw.  Several friends and at east a few art de-
partment heads expressed a certain impatience, and 'who cares' attitude
after having had read this 'lengthy' statement. And, I can understand their
frustration.  I never seem to know when to end.  But it is the bad art I see
and the bad art criticism that is so pervasive, and blatantly offensive to
me, that makes me want to write, in order to get to the core of the prob-
lem. In the final analysis, writing about art and aesthetics has helped to
finely-tune my understanding about art, and enabled me to, not just more
fully understand my responsibilities as a dedicated veteran draughtsman,
but to further make intelligent assessments of everything I look at, which,
in turn, demands of me to want to constantly improve my draughtsmanly
skills, and to make better aesthetic judgements in the future.  


I  understand that a large part of my  responsibility as an artist, is not just
to keep the old traditions alive as best I can, but to keep using these same
tradtional and time-proven standards and criteria for drawing, as well as
continuing to improve and diversify my  drawing skills ( ie: styles and idi-
oms); to keep drawing with conte crayon and sepia ink with reed pen; to
do drawings with Medieval, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Neo-
Classical, Romantic, and Surreal subjects, and in same styles of those
schools, as  well as continuing to do figure drawings from life, and to
abstract the figure in as many diverse and creative ways as I can.


I did my first abstract drawing when I was forty, and after a quarter of a
century of abstracting the figure, I know that I will always remain a repre-
sentationalist.  I find that pure abstraction would be more of a cop-out,
than a challenge, and that it is just as important for me to remain a repre-
sentationalist, and to remain critical of not just my own work, but every
drawing and work of art I look at. And if writing about drawing, or art in
general, helps me to better understand the relationship between ethics
and aesthetics, or per chance, educate just one artist, one art dealer, one
art critic or museum curator, then it will all have been time well spent.  


It is obvious to me that Academia hasn't done its job well in educating and
training generations of so-called, 'artists'.  After all is said and done, it is
neither academic degrees, the list of 'shows' on a resume, fame and cele-
britization, nor the astronomical prices that a work might bring, but the
quality of the draughtsmanship, the painterly skills, and the quality and in-
telligence of the aesthetic and vision that makes the artist.  But unfortun-
ately, in today's artworld, rarely, if ever, do any of such values count.  And
as for the future of art, I cannot be optimistic.  


I for one, have always been a pessimist, and I must say that as one who
does draw, this has been a strong point in that being overly critical about
my own art, or others' ( or the world's, for that matter ), has proven to be a
continuing factor in motivating me to constantly strive to produce better
results in my own drawings.  And in consequence, my confidence as a
draughtsman, has always been independent of any sucesses ( or lack of )
in the so-called, 'contemporary art scene', that to this day, has never in-
fluenced my drawing or any aspect of my art. Society's 'so-called, 'modern
culture' and ever changing pseudo-cultural trends and fashions haven'i
effected my art or life in the least.  What ever motivations and inspiratons
that still encourage me to draw and create, be it, Old or Early Modern Mas-
ters, lithic tools or colonial wrought iron, nature or my own creative imag-
ination, it has always been, mainly, the Old Master draughtsmen who have
been my mentors, and whose individual and unique 'signatures' of line I so
admire and appreciate,  For it is they who have really taught me how to
draw as well as I do.  


It has been my life-long study of Old Master drawings that have showed
me how to free my spirit, and drawing that has 'freed' me from the strict-
ures of the society I live in.  Not sex. not money, not drugs or alchohol,
not food, not clothes.  Good old books, great art and rare antiques have
greatly contributed to my education, as well as inspired me. Not success,
or dreams of same.  Not even the beauties of nature have sustained me
like drawing has.  And most certainly, neither society's cultural, nor pseu-
do- cultural trends and fashions have influenced my drawing.  Only by
drawing and studying Old Master drawings and paintings,have Ibeen able
to improve my drawing and painting skills.  Nature, itself, cannot do that. It
can only supply the subject matter.  Whether it be, Gothic, Renaissance,
Baroque, Rococo. Neoclassical, Romantic, Post-Impressionist, or Early
Modern cubist or Surrealist art, it is the emotive power in the interpreta-
tion of the subjects that inspires me to learn their histories, and in some
way, learn to draw and paint by their example. Contemporary art has, only
on rare occassion, fulfilled that need for me.


And so far, art history, has proven my discovries to be correct about what
constitutes good drawing. By seeing certain correlations between the
greatest Old Master drawings that have survived the last half mellenia that
I have looked at, and certain stages and series of discoveries and positive
progressions in both the subject matters and line evolutions ( and revolu-
tions ) in my own drawings, I have been able to identify certain original
styles and idioms in my own drawing oeuvre, whether influenced by my
memory of certain favorite Old Master draughtsmens' 'hands', or other-
wise effected by my own personal, unique experience and vision. Whether
what I recognize is an similar or identical emotional, or otherwise, intellec-
tual, or aesthetic stimulous or interest, or perhaps, just a shared emotion,
or love for same subject, the spirit of my very best drawings share a like-
minded aesthetic ideology of perfection of the craft and a freeing of the
spirit as resulted in the quality of the line that I can identify in those Old
Master drawings that exhibited a certain free calligraphic spirit which ini-
tially attracted me to them in the first place.


In the calligraphic nuances of the very best Old Master drawings, are the
draughtsman's personality and character. I have discovered that neither
are my own drawings an excepton to this rule. And I believe that my con-
tinuing independent studies and research in the field of Old Master draw-
ings, will continue to prove to both give me a greater advantage over most
artists drawing today. But most importantly. Old Master drawings never
fail to sustain me.  Remarkably, whether anyone wants to believe it or not (
or will allow themselves to ), having had been both a drawer and a writer
most of my life, has further given me an added advantage in beng able to
critically digest what I read, as well as critically, objectively and logically
analyzing the evidence in the critical literature in other diverse fields of
study, such as the study of lithic tools, or the x-ray photographs of the
Kennedy assassination. When it comes to drawing, and knowing what
good drawing is ( or who killed JFK, for that matter ).  I, at least, can say
that I have done MY homework.  But, who is paying attention to objec- tive
art criticism anymore, let alone, giving it?  To be a good art critic, one
must not only be knowledgeable about art history, and, especially what
good art is, but one also must not be influenced by the changing art fash-
ions and art criticism trends, or political and economic forces in the art-
world.


I have rarely, if ever used the word 'artist' in reference to myself. Today,
the word is practically devoid of any meaning. For someone who has dedi-
cated his life to constantly improving his craft. and resisting any adultera-
tion of his artistic aesthetic by the ever changing fashions, trends, and
crass commercial pressures of the anti-aesthetic of the pseudo-culture I
live in, I can say that I know all too well the problems the artist is faced
with to remain on his course. The really great artists I have met, I can
count on three r four fingers, and they have been  unknown and anony-
mous to the self-centered mindset of the Post Modernist obscurantists.
The real artist insulates himself in his own private individuated world of
the great art of the past, ensconced amongst all the great art of the Old
and Early Modern Masters, good old books and beautiful antiques he can
afford.  He constantly improves his own craft and art, whether he shares
his art with a few good friends who are aware and appreciative of his tal-
ent, or not. The true artist, because he is critical of everything he sees and
does--perhaps, even, overly critical--is an island onto himself.  He has to
be, in order to survive.


Unfortunately, a severe regimen of self-criticism can get in the way of an
op-timism that is a necessary prerequisite to succeed ( the two don't
necessarily go hand-in-hand ).  I have been aware for decades that I have,
perhaps, been overly critical of my own work, but I also know that being so
was the only way I could have improved my drawing and painting skills and
excelled as an artist as well as I have. This is common sense.  I have never
been one to believe that one can be too critical of one's own work. But I
will also con- fess that I am guilty of a dire pessimism that at times, has
prevented me from embracing a certain measure of optimism necessary in
order for one to succeed.  The result being, that often, artists, especially   
( and people in general ), don't want to hear what I have to say because
they misinterpret mycriticism as 'negative'. They simply cannot, and will
not, objectively accept that sound criticism can and should be negative, as
well as positive.  And, most artists' egos prevent them from being critical
of their own work, let alone, wanting to hear any- one else criticizing their
work ( so much for artists' egos and the cult of the self ). Most artists only
want to hear praise. Such is not the predica- ment of the true artist.  When
we look at such great artists as the great Rembrandt, Goya, and Vincent
Van Gogh, we can see that their severe self criticism was a virtue. How
else could they have become such great art- ists?  It was their ever un-
compromising aesthetic ethic, their never being satisfied with what they
did, that made them strive for the perfection they attained.  There was no
other path for them. This is the predicament of every true artist and every
true draughtsman who maintains an ethically-based aesthetic. They never
become satisfied, or complaisant.  The boon and 'death knell' of every
contemporary 'artist'. Why should it be any dif- ferent now than it was
then?


As a final word ( as if there is such a thing ), I will say that my opinion is
only one voice.  But it is an informed opinion, as opposed to an un (or)
illin- formed ( or subjective or relativist) one ( which is the norm when
itcomes to contemporary art criticism ). Just as I have committed myself to
the sound draughtsmanly virtues of the Old Master drawings I have spent
nearly a whole lifetime studying, I will also continue to write art criticism
without compromising my aesthetic ethic, without contributing to the ac-
ceptance and use of the misapplication of terms, and the willy-nilly, sub-
jective ( and relativist ) acceptance of the lowered standards, debased cri-
teria and unintelligent nonparameters that have been so commonly accep-
ted and taken for granted by so many of my peers amd at least two youn-
ger generations of artists.


To continue to improve my draughtsmanship, will always remain my main
responsibility as an artist ( just as it should be every artist's responsibili-
ty). No one else can do that for me.  I know I must continue to judge my
work for myself, and not let the gallery dealers, the so-called, 'art critics',
nor the museum curators, do what I can do best. It is I who must be vigi-
lant to keep my standards for drawing high, and to hold onto those very
same standards, as well as to always keep in mind what I believe and know
to be good, sound draughtsmanship.  It is I who must constantly raise my
bar, so to speak, for I know very well  what it takes to master  anything
well, let alone, what it takes to be a 'good draughtsman''.  If I had but one
'mission' and goal as an artist, I would have to say that it would be to keep
on drawing and perfecting my craft and art, and to continue my studies, in
art and art history, to remain dedicated to an 'aesthetic aesthic' that is
without compromise, separate and independent, of what society's 'cultural
measurements', guidelines and dictates are, and regardless of what other
'artists' are doing.
This page is in the process of being edited
All Text Copyright © 2006 and 2011 by Brian Carl Hart / All Rights Reserved.