See. Appreciate. Draw. Repeat.
Sometime late last year I pulled out a neglected sketch pad and started to draw what I saw around the apartment, or out the windows. I wasn’t particularly pleased with the results, but I wasn’t sure why. I kept at it, filling my sketchbook with drawings I’d be embarassed to show anyone. I knew they weren’t turning out the way I wanted, but I still didn’t know why.
What was wrong, besides the fact that I hadn’t done this in years?
And then it dawned on me that because I hadn’t done it in so long, the way I looked at things had changed. I’d gone from seeing their smallest details to seeing only their basics, the big stuff, the obvious. I wasn’t really registering what was there, and so when it came time to draw, there were big gaps in my knowledge and I would rely on assumptions. Rather lazy really.
Well, this wasn’t going to do at all.
So I had a quick conference with the eyes and brain, and told them that the laziness needed to stop and that I wanted to see an improvement in my sketches so they’d better start doing a better job. (The choice comments about my management style? I won’t bother with them here).
Full of good intentions, I started looking at things more carefully. I’m sure there are more than a few Westend and Yaletown folk who’ve wondered what drugs I was on, peering so closely at foliage, skylines, buildings and just about anything else that caught my attention.
I’ve also spent a whole lot of time looking at the little criminals in their natural element (the couch, the chairs, the bed, the bathroom sink, the kitchen counter, and occasionally the balcony or the bathtub). In fact, if you were to look in my current sketchbook, the last few pages might convince you I’m cat-obsessed.
* Sleeping cats
* Twitchy cats
* Mad-Half-Hour cats
* Sitting cats
* Annoyed cats
* Pathetic, I-want-kibble-now! cats
* Impatient, why-are-you-staring-at-me? cats.
Detailed drawings of their feet, their mitts, their ears and noses…. even notes on the way their fur grows in different areas. I suspect I could easily fill a whole book before I feel I’ve learned anything, or tired of the subjects.
But it’s paying off – I can see the difference.
Now, is there a subtle way to ask for a a gift of lilies or other exotic flower so I can use them as subjects? Oh wait – the darling spouse does read this occasionally.
So much for subtle…