DrawToSee has been initiated by artist and teacher David Noble. David has been involved with art education for over a quarter of a century. His creative and educational concerns have encouraged him to reappraise the value of direct observation in figurative drawing and to run a series of drawing courses exploring visual representation.

The direction of art over the last fifty years has moved firmly towards the cerebral – to the decline of the visual. There are, of course, some exceptions to this trend. But generally speaking we are in danger of losing the sheer pleasure of simply looking at things and losing the desire or the skills to represent visual reality to a high standard. David accepts the view that copying natural appearance is a relatively uncreative procedure; representational drawing rarely challenges perceptions, breaks new ground, or crosses boundaries – criteria/concerns so beloved/prominent in the climate of contemporary art. But what it does do is train the eye and improve our visual awareness. We can discover, for instance, that the status of the simplest object is enhanced just by drawing it. Photographic imagery is so universal in the modern world that we see little purpose in representing reality by eye and hand. But accurate representation and creating spatial resonance in drawing can be a magical experience. We should all discover the wonder of making it ourselves.

David says:

What I hope distinguishes my approach to representational drawing is a desire to liberate drawing activity from any overweight of self conscious expression, from any anxiety associated with the quest for originality, from any overweight of conceptual content, or from any other influences which may cause representational drawing to identify itself as an art form. Once freed from these complications/concerns, the process of drawing can be considered a craft activity rather than an art activity and it can be practised by anyone with the appropriate aptitude and application. Success in practising this skill can be measured objectively by accuracy of observation, and subjectively by extension of visual awareness and awakening of visual preferences. Unlike the hazy/nebulous principles of ‘art’, the principles of representational drawing can be taught. I believe that rigorous visual investigation into the nature of appearances through observational drawing is valuable for its own sake, but it can also lead to eloquence in the execution of other visual media and to the gestation of visually creative ideas.”