Drawing or painting is essentially seeing. Seeing is understanding, as is writing. In seeing and understanding one can communicate to others. Portraying an object or scene or person is essentially threefold – first, depicting what you see, second, depicting what you know (in the case of the human figure, anatomy) and third, bringing something to it that elevates and celebrates the subject. Much of my drawing or painting is of subjects I see when I travel. That makes me look – and see – more effectively. I do the same when I go to an art exhibit, sketch the work I’m looking at to understand and appreciate it more carefully. When I visit a great work of architecture I’ve often done drawings of it – sometimes construing its plan so that I can better understand it.
Paul Spreiregen is a native of Boston and a graduate of the MIT School of Architecture and Planning. He was Fulbright in Italy 1954-55. He has worked in Italy, Sweden, and many parts of the US. He has been based in Washington DC since 1960. He headed the pioneer program in Urban Design at the American Institute of Architects, and was the first Director of Architecture and Design Programs at the then new National Endowment of the Arts. He has taught and lectured throughout the US and abroad. He wrote and broadcast a weekly commentary on architecture, planning and design for National Public Radio over a period of twelve years. He is the author, co-author, and editor of about a dozen books on architecture and town planning – as well as numerous articles in professional lay journals. He has also conducted several architectural design competitions, two of them international, the best known the design competition for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. His architectural and planning work is founded on the characteristics of the host site, great care for how it will enhance the life and experience of those who inhabit it, all the while utilizing the most appropriate contemporary technology for its realization – buildings respectfully of their sites, buildings enhancing the lives of their users, and buildings of their moment in time.