Appreciating the Power of a Drawing

"A Sailing Boat on a Wide Expanse of Water," by Rembrandt, 1650, The Getty Museum I have always been partial to intimate media -- such gems as art songs, strings quartets, and drawings. I am quickly absorbed.

In part, my love of drawings comes from childhood. My dad's charcoal drawings always hung in our home when I was small, and for me his draftsmanship had a definite voice. There is also the pleasure of good paper, the tactile interest of which I began to enjoy early. Though it might seem strange, I was also taken with the colors of drawings as boy. The browns, occasional reds, and blacks I found to be not austere but warm.

Now, most of all, I enjoy the power of simple and spare compositions.

This drawing is a favorite. The design books tell me that the horizontal lines create a calm atmosphere. I sense a gentle flow toward the right of this picture. And I especially like the ease with which Rembrandt moves my eye from the darker foreground to the actual focal point of the composition, the lighter and more distant boat.