Friday, October 5, 2012

Swanton Under Rain

My second sketch is not as good as my first but it did lead me to discover something. So that makes it worthwhile.

It was raining and we were waiting for a pizza to be ready, driving around until I said "stop". And I did this sketch (admittedly while being very hungry). Fortunately the pizza was much much better than the sketch.

After we got the pizza in the car, I remembered that I wanted a photograph of the view I had sketched, so we drove back. Turns out we didn't stop in exactly the same place, but close.

The next day I looked at the sketch and the image and something about the two shapes of the pavement in the foreground triggered something and I immediately started drawing on a canvas board. A couple of days later I had this:

Swanton Under Rain - 8" x 10" oil on canvas board

What I learned is that sketches aren't blueprints. They serve a purpose beyond the visual. I think the simplicity allows imagination a free range. If they've done their job, the transmutation happens quickly in the brain. Something snaps into focus that is not the sketch, but is of the sketch. The act of sketching makes us focus for just long enough that the brain absorbs its own vision of what we see and mulls it over, "painting" it with other images, other feelings, other pieces of ourselves until it becomes what it is we (in particular) really see.

For me in this case, I can make some guesses as to what got thrown into this sketch: maps, aerial views, my love of shapes and colors, interest in roof lines, my fascination with the weather, among other things which even I can't now consciously remember.

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