Thursday, August 4, 2011
I recently became re-acquainted with my watercolor Moleskine and went on a little sketching spree. It all started quite innocently--as most of my art adventures do. I was working on my second adventure journal, and although I think these little journals are a great way to record the events, memories, details, and ephemera from a trip, the one thing they lack is a sense of "place." Since I envision these adventure journals as baby steps to real travel journals, I realized that I need to learn how to sketch.
I'm not talking about sketches like these. I'm talking about the kind of sketches featured on the urban sketchers blog. Holy moley! I want to be an urban sketcher when I grow up! I've been on a few sketch crawls in the past and found them to be incredibly challenging events resulting in mediocre sketches. Instead of feeling inspired and motivated to make progress, I felt like it was just another art form I would probably never be able to master. I've spent my entire life thinking I can't draw worth a darn. (I think that's why I find abstract art so appealing.)
But I also spent a lot of time hating my attempts at hand lettering and never thought I would be good at that either. A lot of practice turned that around and I'm now quite happy to write to my heart's content. I have to believe that I can also improve at sketching--or anything else I set my mind to--if I'm willing to work at at without giving up. My friend Cathy and I are now on a mission to become urban sketchers. We're dedicating a few lunch hours a week to get outside and sketch.
This is one of my first attempts. It's a building that is being demolished. At this point the windows had been removed and they were starting to demo the interior. The day after I sketched this the whole section with the doors was gone. My main objective here was to practice perspective since that's always been a struggle for me. It's not too bad but it feels pretty lifeless to me. After this sketch I tried to concentrate on a looser, more spontaneous and colorful style. Cathy went on vacation and the weather was crappy, so I had to resort to sketching at my desk where I did the salt water taffy and my paint palette.
We got together after work one day and decided to see what we could accomplish in 30 minutes. We set a timer and stopped sketching when it went off. (I added the text later.) That night I did the travel watercolor set and the wine bucket. It was so hard for me to stop at the end of 30 minutes because I have a tendency to want to add "just a little bit more." But I'm happy I forced myself to stop because the sketches are definitely looser than they would be otherwise. I wrote the name of the wine we drank on the sketch. It's good stuff and you can find it at Whole Foods.
Imagine my delight when I discovered that The Sketchbook Challenge theme for August is EVERYDAY OBJECTS and I just so happen to have a group of them right here. What a lucky coincidence, eh?
I'm still trying to figure out the best way to go about sketching and have been experimenting with different tools and techniques. I'm viewing this as a true challenge and learning experience. I know I won't be happy with every sketch, but hopefully it will get me closer to becoming the awesome urban sketcher I'm hoping to be.