Friday, January 14, 2011

January thumbnails update!

After a nudge from Lisa at Seaside Studios, I realized it was past time for an update on the 100 Thumbnails project.

You can see from the scorecard in the sidebar that I came up a little short in December. My only excuse is that it was.... well.... December. Everything tends to go out the window in December.


I'm a bit behind the game for January, too, although if this "unseasonably" warm and dry weather keeps up I might find myself a little more motivated. Sure, I can (and do) work from photos and the TV and the edge of my sofa, but given the choice between drawing from life and working from a flat image...

Oh, who are we kidding? It's really no contest.

Not that it's always easy to get myself out the door. I'm the first to admit that I can be a "fair-weather sketcher." Cold? Uh uh. Wind? Don't wanna. Maybe I should take my camera. Binoculars? Maybe I should pack a snack. An extra sweater? I don't want to get out there and discover I'm cold/hungry/thirsty/missing a new bird ID! I can spend a lot of time wandering around the house with a half-provisioned backpack, trying to get myself in the "right headspace" to go draw.


Even when I finally get out the door, the waffling doesn't necessarily resolve right away. My sit-down-and-draw self wrestles with my go-see-what's-over-there self. I wander around. I sit down. I stand back up. I wander some more. I look at animal tracks. I watch birds. I dodge deer poop. I grumble about the people who leave their trash by the side of the river. I wonder if I should be home doing XYZ or ABC.

Eventually I settle down and open my sketchbook. "It's just a 2x3-inch sketch," I tell myself, and once I start moving my pencil I realize it's the action of drawing that gets me into the right headspace... not the other way around. It happens every time. In fact, the scribbled notes on one of these pages say that very thing.


After a while my attention starts to wander again... to sounds and smells and whatever else is going on around me.  I realize that even though I dislike wrestling with ruffling sketchbook pages, it is the movement of the air that makes these drawings real. They were not made from my wind-proof studio or my climate-controlled car, but from the lee side of a fallen tree in a sunny spot by the river. I got more than a few sketches... I got stickers in my socks and dirt on my pants. I got the indifferent pip of a song sparrow, talking to itself for lack of stimulating company. I got the constant flow of the river. I got a little sunburn. In January.

Thumbnails. Funny how something so small can be something so big, eh?

4 comments:

Susan J. Tweit said...

I think that's your Zen moment, right there: Funny how something so small, can be something so big...

I love the sketches, too! ;~)

Patrick Gracewood said...

The art is the process, ALL of it. Without the being there, however difficult it is to achieve, that moment, that living would be absent from the art.
The drawings are the artifacts, the goal but also the by-product of our living and seeing.

rebecca jc said...

Well said... and drawn.

Lisa Le Quelenec said...

Oooh thank you Sherrie :o) I love seeing these! They feel like a little window into your world, it's interesting to see how things are the same but different with the ocean inbetween.

'it's the action of drawing that gets me into the right headspace... not the other way around' soooo true.