Drawing is at the heart

So often I hear that to really be able to paint, one needs to be able to draw. So, for my birthday, I helped my husband decide on a gift by giving him a wish list. It worked! What arrived in the mail was “Beginning Drawing Atelier” by Juliette Aristides.

This is a sketchbook, and it is not for the faint at heart. It requires that you get out the pencils and start drawing within its covers.

I have an old set of pencils that I have carried around for perhaps two decades. They range from 8H to 8B and are now in need of sharpening 🙂

I have been learning a lot during this time of Covid precautions. Most of my learning has been through Youtube or podcasts or personal websites. It was nice to receive this hard-cover book and have something tangible to read and react to.

I finished reading the book about a month ago, and have since been trying to catch up on all of the exercises. Hopefully I am not upsetting copyright by posting this. This is what to expect, and is near the end of the book. The exercises start off much more simply.

I am reminded that not every piece of art needs to be wall-ready. I get so caught up in painting and trying to get to a product that I feel good about selling, that it is nice to relax a little and “play”.

I hope this inspires you to grab a few pencils and try drawing. I found Juliette’s book on Amazon, or you could try her website.

Holiday inspiration

There’s nothing quite like getting away from it all to find the peace and quiet to get the pens and paper out and start drawing. With a recent sailing trip to beautiful, remote locations, I have four drawings to bring home.

When I started carting my art supplies around in the sailboat with less than 200 sq ft living space, I realized that I needed to pare down to essentials. So, I just take a bag of pens and some paper.

With a rainy day, I balanced on tippy toes on the bottom step leading into the sailboat cabin and looked across at a small islet. The tide was going out and the boat was swinging on its anchor – all the while my toes were going numb. So, I couldn’t spend much time getting details of rocks and seaweed.

Each time the boat swung around to my chosen view, I added more to the picture, and because the tide was going out, I started at the bottom and worked my way up…otherwise I would have been there for hours! My toes told me when it was time to quit.

On a much sunnier day, I wandered off on my own to see how a lagoon looked with the tide out. I perched on a tripod stool on uneven ground, with my feet soggy from exiting the kayak. A small pool held reflections between two islets and, luckily for me, two people were in the perfect place when I arrived. I didn’t have much time to capture them, and I forgot to take a photo (and would you believe these were actually two women…but they came out like men on my scribbles) before they finished chatting and moved away. I am still getting used to the Promarker pens. Biting insects, particularly around my ankles, told me when it was time to go.

Laundry day meant time on my hands to play around with some foliage. It was a dry, sunny day and I sat in the shade in a beautiful Adirondack seat. My husband says this plant is “horse’s snoot”. It was a dreary looking specimen, and the picture was going to just start with this and move onto other grasses, but when laundry was done, so was I.

Beside the horse’s snoot was another plant, which I should know the name of as I have it in my garden at home, but it escapes me. Out of all four drawings, I enjoyed this one most. There were no biting insects, I was not waiting for anything to be done, my body was not hurting and I could take my time.

It doesn’t take a holiday to get the drawings started, and motivation for art can be found in all sorts of places. I do find, however, that looking at each of these drawings transports me back to those places, to what I heard, and felt, and smelt as I worked away. In some respects, bringing drawings home is more effective than bringing home photographs, for capturing the essence of place.

I’d like to know what you think: do you find that your own depiction of a place through art brings it back to you more or less than a photograph?