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Monday, February 1, 2010
Looking, Seeing, Drawing, Reading
This is in part a response to Kathy’s drawing challenge (or was it Emma's?), but drawing is something I do in Florida, anyway. I have few schedule obligations here and limited social life, which gives me time, precious time, for reading, writing and drawing. All these are interests that David and I share, so books about drawing and painting are stacked all over our living space. I must say, however, that I was discouraged by my own first drawings of the winter and confused, too (see above). Hands and feet are supposed to be difficult to draw, but my attempt at a hand (my own) looks much better to me than my attempt at drawing a fork. Man-made objects in general defeat me in their symmetry and regularity. To be honest, they bore me. I much prefer to take plants, animals and human beings as subjects.
That doesn’t mean dogs are easy to draw. They’re always changing position! Weiser was tired one evening and stretched out for a snooze, which helped,
but the next afternoon out on the deck none of the three dogs would hold a pose. Well, maybe that was good. I had to work fast to capture attitude and personality. Here are two sketches of Sarah, one from the back and one from the side. They’re not much but are recognizably Sarah.
Friday night David and I went page by page through a book of Andrew Wyeth’s “Helga Pictures.” There were quick pencil sketches, watercolor studies and finished paintings, all fascinating, but we had to stop halfway through the book, exhausted by looking so carefully where there was so much to see. Here are some of the other books in our stacks at present: Realistic Figure Drawing, by Joseph Sheppard; The Portrait and Figure Painting Book, by Wendon Blake, with paintings by George Passantino; A Naturalist’s Sketchbook: Pages from the Seasons of a Year, by Clare Walker Leslie; and Exploring Drawing, by Gerald F. Brommer. In the end, of course, one must stop reading and take up the pencil or brush, but there is learning to be done in looking at and reading books, too, and the two kinds of learning reinforce each other. David is braver than I am. But then, as a painter, not a bookseller, he must be brave with a pencil, pen and brush.