Taking the ladder away

1934 – work in progress (42 cms x 60 cms charcoal and pastel 2017)

“Drawing…can get you through things. It’s like in an old Portuguese joke, in which a man is up a ladder painting a wall with a large brush. Another man comes along and wants the ladder, so he says to the first ‘Hold on tight to the brush, I’m just taking the ladder away…’ This is what drawing is like – it grounds you, it connects you so intensely to the paper, through the pencil or the nib or whatever you use, that it’s a lifeline when everything else is taken away. Things can go wrong, but if you just hang on tight to the paper and pen everything will be OK.”

Paula Rego, reported in Paula Rego by Fiona Bradley (Tate Publishing) p.42




31 thoughts on “Taking the ladder away”

  1. It was a conversation with a best friend. Honestly? A conversation I don’t remember having. She said I told her “Just. Keep. Going.”
    And so we do. The brush holders. We just keep going.
    If I actually said that I must be absolutely brilliant.
    Brilliant? No. Just The Reminder…..
    Keep holding.
    Keep going.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful delicate and intense portrait Michael, and those words are inspiring, the brush sure is a mighty thing, and when the ladder has been taken away in the past I’ve been glad the brush is there 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What a beautiful portrait. Doing the things we love certainly grounds us, though personally I’d prefer not to be grounded by someone pulling the ladder away.

    Liked by 1 person

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