When I was in Chicago last fall, I visited the Art Institute, which is one of my absolute most favorite museums ever. They always have a wonderful children's art exhibit, usually from picture books, a great photography exhibit, other fantastic special exhibits, and of course, their amazing permanent collection. (I always visit the Caillebotte painting Paris Street in Rainy Weather.)
During one of the most recent visits, one of the special exhibits was one of drawings from the Renaissance. I love exhibits of drawings. Love.
It feels like seeing behind the scenes of a painting. Drawings are often so fluid and of-the-moment; you see how the artist's mind came up with the composition, the idea of the drawing. You see mistakes, or re-visionings. It's as close as we can get, perhaps, to seeing the creative process as it proceeds.
I realized, too, that this chance to glimpse the process, the inner workings (as much as any person who's not the artist can) is the same reason I always loved watching play rehearsals in college. And why I love editing and seeing drafts of manuscripts. Watching something beautiful come together is as compelling to me as the finished project. It's mysterious and magical and inexplicable and completely fascinating.