Roy Eastland on life drawing

Roy Eastland is an old friend of mine. When he put up another of his beautiful life drawings on Instagram, I asked him: “Roy, what is that you get from doing this?” I would like to share his sublime answer with you.

“Good question. Hard to answer briefly and hard to know fully. Here are some thoughts off the top of my head though. I don’t exactly enjoy drawing but there is pleasure in seeing good lines, or bits of good lines, come into play in the drawing-process. I suppose it’s a pleasure of surprise and meaningfulness. It’s to do with what hand-drawn lines ‘say’. For example, the way a single continuous line might change its function as it plays out its time to mean different things. It might designate a separation between the figure and air, and then it might continue to become a shadow (implying the presence of something solid), then a texture, the weight of a part of the body, an implied but invisible line between two points, it might also simply be the course of the line between two points on the paper or the speed of the hand drawing or its hesitancy or decisiveness (implying the presence of the person)… etc. There is something really interesting in the way drawings are the traces of ideas. I think the whole process, of carefully paying attention (through drawing) to the presence of somebody, can be quite a meditative act. It’s partly to do with noticing one’s own presence in the act of drawing too. Drawing, for me, is never about achieving a preconceived effect for its own sake or achieving a specific outcome that can be predicted. For me it’s a process of noticing things and changing my mind about what I think I am in the presence of. I think it’s also got something to do with touch, or memory of touch, and some kind of affection for the presence of people or things. Drawing generally (for me) has also got something to do with making souvenirs of moments (for want of a better phrase) and it’s got something to do with noticing the presence of time. A hand-drawn line has its ‘life story’ of beginning somewhere, of changing and then coming to its end. But we can look at the drawn line out of sequence and all at once. I like playing with ways of seeing and playing with ways of conjuring up the presence of things through drawing. These are just stream-of-consciousness thoughts btw.”

Take a look at more of his drawings on his website.

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