Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Back to the drawing board...

Sometimes I just need to go back to the very beginning. In fact, it is a pretty frequent thing. Annual, I guess. Every year, for my birthday, we go somewhere where it is my intent to spend a goodly deal of my time drawing and sketching. And every year, right before we go, I get into a 'but I don't really know HOW to draw' panic. Now, if owning drawing books made a person a good draw-er, I should be a pro!

This year, we are not really going anywhere scenic. HA! Now that I've typed that, I realize how stupid it is! We are going to Silverthorne, Colorado, one of the most scenic spots in the world! But, to us, it's pretty common place scenery. We're going to meet my son and the grandchildren for a couple of days, giving my daughter-in-law a few evenings of quiet time (unfortunately she has to work the days). So we'll play with the kids in the pool, and I'll do 'Grandma art' with the kids. Then we'll go to our cabin on the mountain for a few more days; also very scenic, but, to us, same-old-same-old. SO... I have decided to use the time re-learning to draw, in preparation for our summer trip to Honduras, where I hope to get a bit of sketching time (though I never have been able to spend time sketching there before) and a friend and I hope to paint a bit with the children we work with there.

I have gone through most of these books before, but it will be very good to do it again. If I only owned one drawing book, it would be Betty Edward's Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. But the funnest one for me has been Jeanne Carbonetti's The Yoga of Drawing. You really need to be working from photos with her system, I think. She has you use a grid, do a gesture drawing (scribble it in), then a contour drawing from the gesture grid, and finally very loosely paint over it - NOT paint it in. So I've been doing some warm up sketching this morning, from magazine pages I keep for this purpose. (I find it's easier to do warm-ups from people I don't know, as then I don't worry about if they look 'right.' And so, without that worry, they generally do look looser and 'right-er.' ) The sketchbook I was using was quite awful for wet medium (watercolor and gouache), but these are just warm-ups, after all.

In the real world, yesterday was our first good 'sitting-on-the-porch' day. It was over 70 degrees out... Lovely! The fake-holly bushes by the porch are in full bloom, and they perfume the whole area. They are buzzing with happy bees, but the big black ones refused to pose, and I didn't push them. I did get a photo of one small bee. See him happily burying himself in the scented bloom?

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