A lot of people are interested in the artistic process.
When they see me sketching or working at my easel, people often ask “How do you decide what to paint?” “How long did it take you to make that?” and even “Why don’t you just take a photograph?” These are good questions, and I am glad that people are curious about my art. This blog will provide some answers.
I call my blog “Diary of a Stealth Sketcher.”
Drawing and sketching are fundamental to my process as a visual artist. That’s why I carry a sketchbook. I record my observations in pencil, pen, or brush at every opportunity.
My regular travel sketch kit: brushes, pencils, pens, sketchbooks, watercolors, and whatever else fits into the pockets of my little tote bag.
For me, the best part of travel is seeing and sketching new people, places, and things. It’s easy to put a kit together, and sketching during layovers is good entertainment. I encourage everyone to give it a try.
How do I decide what to draw or paint? I just look around until something or someone catches my eye. At the airport, I might make a quick study like this one.
Airports aren’t the only good places to sketch. If I’m driving, I can pull over and dash off a tree study.
If I’m at the beach, I can’t resist sketching the ocean.
I have always liked the motto of the Art Students League, Nulla Die Sine Linea, No Day Without a Line.
Make a line. The rest follows naturally. Sometimes a line will lead to a finished work years after the first pencil mark. For example, I did this little sketch of a face in 2009, then lost track of it.
In 2013 I stumbled upon it again. Because I liked the face, I added a body. Then I had a good long think while I did other things.
In 2015 I developed the image into an etching. Along the way, my little person acquired a geometric diagram (a quilting pattern illustrating the Pythagorean Theory), a branch of apples (borrowed from a Northern Renaissance Virgin and Child), and a name: Rational. Now I am thinking about a companion piece to celebrate the irrational. (That swirly thing may return.)
How long did it take me to make it? Something like 6 years, if we count all the time this little guy waited in the wings, while I decided who and what he/she would be.
I printed an edition of 15, signed and numbered. Here’s how it looks in a frame.
You may ask, “Why not take a photograph?”
To me, photography, wonderful as it is, is about the moment. Painting, drawing, and even sketching are slower processes. I’m in it for the long game.
Being a working artist has its joys and challenges, but, through it all, your support and encouragement sustain me. Thank you so much for being my audience.