Sketching With My Ears

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I find I sketch with all 5 of my senses. The smell of bagels cooking at Jakes creates an image of Joe mixing the ingredients back in the kitchen; the sound of the big mixer adds to the image forming in my head.
          I do a lot of sketching with my ears – listening to people talking about family, friends and times past form images in my head, some of which become paintings and others just add details needed to complete the current work. People are always telling me of places I might like to do a painting of. I’ve learned over the years to listen, really listen to people when they tell me of places I might like to paint. Sometimes they tell me of a house they think I’d like to do a painting of and talk more about the trees around the house than the house itself. When I head out to size up the scene I check out the trees to see why the trees made such impression. Sometimes the house becomes the background for a painting of trees. I listen so I can see.
         Fond memories are great sketches people create for me. Hearing how thunderstorms and screened in porches are favorite childhood memories for one friend, I recall my own love of thunderstorms. My painting will be enriched from our conversation and it will be a mix of my friend’s recount of her childhood and my own.
         Listening over the years has become a form of sketching. When people open up about what they love it sparks my creative thinking.
Donny talking about minnow hunting brought my painting ” Minnow Man” to life. Standing waste deep in a creek catching minnows to sell to the bait shop. We traded stories about catching minnows and how the bait shop wanted us to take a couple bottles of pop for our day’s work.
        Being in-tune to what is important to people is an asset for an artist, not all artists, but for those who deal with life as their subject, being able to listen and really hear what is being said can build a treasure of subjects for one’s work.
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