Always the key to whether the soufflé of a drawing earns an exclamation of success in the moment of creation and then even holds up to the later and more objective review.

There are relationships in my drawings. The intimacy between my eye and hand, the intimacy between the artist and the model. I draw for simplicity and economy of detail. In the past, my drawings displayed large areas of textures and patterns but now I draw deliberately with the awareness for volume and essence. I want the resulting fluid lines to literally draw the viewer in for an intimate view.

I draw the energy of the person modeling. My drawings do have a similarity to gesture and contour drawing practices. Gestures are very short warm ups of sweeping motions inspired by the stance of the model but which are used for the purpose of anatomical stretching for the artist—getting the blood flowing, the awareness centered, the muscles relaxed. My drawings convey the vitality of the figure in fluid lines and at times they are gestural. However, the lines come not as a warm up exercise but as the result of deliberate marks that express the pose, shape, and spirit of the figure and which are placed on the expanse of the paper in a purposeful composition. 

Contour drawings are very slow exercises in eye-hand coordination, exercises in developing visual awareness. The hand moves the pencil as the eye slowly moves across the surface of the model. It is an exercise in seeing carefully. I draw lines waltzing across the paper, flirting with the edges, and reaching into in the corners. Proportion is manipulated according to the importance of selected details and their relationship to the composition. Rhythm appears in the flow of the lines. A successful drawing includes the combination of all selected intentions and then, to get good to better, the conveying of essence--the model’s strike, attitude, persona—all evidenced through presentation. I am aiming for the ah hah, the visual soufflé. 

I thank my lucky stars that I attended the University of Iowa—fresh out of the secondary school nest years ago—and encountered instructors in art, religion, and even Rhetoric with microscopic questions aimed in and telescopic lessons aimed out. Here I found doors to an understanding of perception and creative possibility that creaked and even sometimes crashed open. With fits and starts and varying degrees of intensity since that four-year launching I have been on a sine wave of an artist life.  

Those fits and starts continue as I do in the present and check in on the past. I have seen and in some cases even held in my hands works by Whistler, Gorky, Stella, Mondrian, Tamayo, Rembrandt, Goya, Wood, Beckmann, Marini, and Ruscha. I have listened to and sometimes even spoken with visual artists inspirational in their own lifetime—some famous internationally and some only famous to the room. The accumulation of experience has progressed with erratic finesse as I concentrated on my areas of emphasis: drawing, photography, and printmaking. Even now, the focus on volume has lead me to consider sculpture. And, even painting. Ever moving onward and upward. 

-- Jo Ann Hendricks