Six weeks into 2015, I’m reviewing my list of Envisions:
- Music and Keyboard
- Mapping and Footprints
- Urban Sketching and Watercolors
- Word Origins – a self study course
- Writing Craft and Practice
If I don’t consciously allocate time and energy, I will stick with what I am already enjoying (Keyboard), and ignore what is more difficult or intimidating. Even as I created my list, I knew which one I’d be least likely to pursue, and why – Urban Sketching and Watercolors.
- Linear, sequential thinker
- Boundaries, deliberate, precise, defined
- Clarity, balance, predictability
- Silence, alone, lack of commotion
My impression of Urban Sketching:
- People, public places, parking, schlepping
- Vibrant, active, constant movement
- Sounds, noise, interaction
- Quick capture, fast strokes, hurry
My impression of Watercolors:
- Defy boundaries
- Run, ooze, drip, overflow, blend
- The paint is in charge
- Require patience
My incompatibility with these two choices is obvious. Yet taken together as one art form, Urban Sketching and Watercolors seem to rein each other in while simultaneously complementing each other.
I’ve been so stimulated by the art of bloggers who work in this arena, not to mention curious about how they immerse themselves in the very environments they chronicle. Light, shadows, details – I see them now in ways I’ve never noticed.
I don’t fear not doing this well. I fear not doing it at all.
Trying art of any kind is very intimidating. I feel like a kindergartner insisting, “I do it myself”, but I DO have to experiment my own way.
My habit – until now – with anything ‘artsy’ is to buy umpteen ‘how to’ books; study them ad nauseum while taking copious notes; then never actually begin a project. This time I allowed myself to quickly thumb through two books as long as I promised to pick up a pencil and Do Something!
I read that your first sketch should be a self-portrait. So I stood in front of the mirror and sketched what I saw. Sorry it’s so light – too timid with my strokes – but it’s a good likeness with a vertical wrinkle between my eyebrows and naturally downturned corners of my mouth when I’m not smiling.
By Sammy D
Next, I sketched a body in motion using a ballet dancer on a postcard as my model. After drawing her likeness, I colored her using watercolor brush pens.
Finally I opened my watercolor tin; wet the colors; dipped the brush; held the brush to white paper. Then what? Paint a stroke on the paper? Then another? That went nowhere.
I like tangling because I define the shape and patterns. I like coloring with gel pens and sharpies because they are predictable.
Not so with watercolors.
Whether my perception is accurate or not, I have to figure out how to bridge the divide between my current comfort zone and watercolors.
I decided to start with a tangle form; add pieces of design tape; then color around the tape with sharpies. A collage of sorts, one where colors meet but don’t bleed. I like that result.
Now I’m ready to watch a watercolor demo video.
Then I’ll open a book. Study a chapter or two.
Sketch some more. Paint the sketches.
I might even leave my quiet home sanctuary to visit a café. Draw a hand holding a cup of coffee. Pay attention to shadows and light.
Dip my croissant in watercolors …