The Sketch vs. The Photo

          This sketch is a possible idea for a painting. It is from a few years back, drawn from my van while sitting in one of my favorite parks. Some artists would have done it in color but for me sketching in black and white is more exciting and interesting. Doing it in black and white also allows me more freedom with color when I decide to do a painting from it. Color is something I like playing with. When I begin one of these sketches I am simply interested in the shapes my subjects are presenting me. They are people with human form and I love drawing people, but it is the abstractness of the two figures sitting together in this sketch that I enjoy. Had they been sitting side by side, I more than likely would have passed them up. My eyes have been trained to see the abstract, along with a dozen other things in an instant, like movement and lines. Sometimes the sketch happens so fast I cannot recall how or where I began. I am both proud that I can capture such sights as these two ladies and frightened that it may have been a fluke. It is like that with a lot of my work. I began taking photos of each step of a painting, not to show others, but so I can see how I began. What was the first line of a drawing or brush stroke of a painting and how did I decide where to place that first mark? I ask myself once finished.
          My present painting began with a charcoal drawing, something I never do. I experimented just to experience this way of working. Working from a photo slows me down, due to the fact that the model is going nowhere. So I let this painting remain in the drawing stage for a few days while I worked on other projects. With a live model comes the pressure of time so it is started with color. So many times models have decided posing for a painting is harder than they thought. Once I had one who went out to get some medicine and never came back. Holding still was not her thing. Now the first thing I do is take a photo – then lift the brush.
         With sketching in parks I need speed, I found taking photos great for recording details but not so great for capturing that excitement of finding a good subject. With the sketches, I get that excitement back. That what drew me to the two ladies in the first place. With photos, I look and think “Oh yeah, that’s a good one”, but that excitement eludes me.
         Haven’t not done anything with the sketch of the two ladies yet. I still have touch-up work to do on the “charcoal start” painting.


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