Thursday, June 10, 2004


The books meant to inspire us to create our own art keep coming. Okay, maybe The Undressed Art: Why We Draw by Peter Steinhart is only the second new book I've come across lately (Nick Bantock's being the first), but could this be the next trend? A few months will tell. But The Undressed Art looks interesting:

We all draw as children: we scrawl a sunbeamed circle for a face and dots for eyes, and then we move on to portraits of Mom with an upside-down U for hair and Dad with trousers up to his armpits. But sooner or later, almost everyone stops. In this delightful, revelatory book, Peter Steinhart explores why some of us keep on drawing–and what happens when we do. Combining the scientific, the historical, the anecdotal and the personal with marvelous ease, Steinhart asks some provocative questions: Why do drawings often speak to us more eloquently than paintings? What is the mind doing when we draw? Why is so much drawing of the face and of the nude figure? What is the dynamic between a clothed artist and a naked model? Steinhart makes clear that, at its best, drawing is a spontaneous expression of what we see, an "undressed art" unencumbered by affectation or calculated fashion. And he reveals its many rewards: it helps us to focus, to slow down, and to really see the world and ourselves. At once erudite and engaging, The Undressed Art illuminates the allures and joys of a familiar art–and inspires us to pick up a pencil and draw.
You can read an except here. Get your pencils, charcoal and markers ready, you may be inspired.