daily sketch: haiti

 |  April 28, 2006

At the beginning of the year I had said that I was going to draw a tree everyday. yup. That lasted 4 days. I’m going to start something else now though because I really love to draw. I really don’t do it enough and I want to get better. I never know what to draw though, strangely enough.

When I was 16 years old or so I used to take a ceramics class at Glen Echo Park in Glen Echo, MD. I loved it there. The ceramic studios and painting studios were all in yurts! And the kiln was outside. And there were woods all around and a carousel with the old antique carousel animals. Anyway, I wandered into one of the smaller yurts that a painter was using. I spoke to her a long time and told her that I loved to draw and paint but that I never knew what to draw. She advised me to look in the newspaper and use the photogrpahs as studies.

She said something to this effect: “These are photos that showcase humanity at its best and worst. Draw from these and you will learn how to capture emotion, as well as absorb compostional form. And then later you can draw upon these sketches to inspire paintings.”

I never followed her advice. But I just started to this week. I give myself about 10-15 mintues. No more than that so I don’t get bogged down with making a perfect drawing. And it forces me to just focus in on what I feel is important to the photo. I don’t have to draw everything in that particular photo. Here is one of my sketches from this week:

There’s a section in the Seattle P-I called The World in 5 Minutes and it showcases photos and snippets of news from around the world. These photos always capture me.

There’s something about sitting and drawing something that allows you to connect with the subject. Instead of my eyes just glazing over and thinking what a sad thing that is, I focus in on that person in that photo. And he or she actually becomes a person with a story. Same thing happens when I sit and draw a flower or a tree. The world opens up! There is so much detail and beauty in the world that we just miss! Or at least, I do.

I had always loved drawing people. What happened to that?

Above is a sketch of a Haitian girl overlooking garbage that the rains brought into a canal that goes through a slum.

And looking at this now on the screen I can see that the proportion of her arm is off. It’s good to take a step back and see things like that.

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