Wednesday, August 25, 2010
It's a bad weather day here in Maine, good for the trees and grass and ponds but bad for vacationers. I shouldn't complain too much -- we've had more than a week of great weather -- but I am kind of down because the heavy rain and winds are keeping me from heading down to the pebble beach below our rental house, where I have been going pretty much every day since we got here to sketch rocks.
As anyone who has visited the Maine coast can attest, one thing it is not short on by any means is rocks -- rocks of all shapes, sizes, and colors. Beautiful rocks, rocks in fantastic profusion and variety. Harshly-angled, jagged rocks next to sensually rounded rocks, shaped and smoothed by the endless tides.
And I have been having a good time drawing them. My wife has asked "Are you planning on drawing anything other than rocks?" And I do… in fact, I drew a gnarled piece of driftwood a few days ago. But right now, I like drawing these rocks. I enjoy watching an image emerge on the page of white paper as I scratch and scribble, hatch and cross-hatch away with one of the several markers I carry in my shirt pocket.
And the simple fact that I LIKE drawing these rocks is what has given me a new glimmer of hope that the joy I used to feel in drawing anything is slowly beginning to return. It's been a long while since I have spent much time drawing from life, but I am starting to remember how much fun it can be. It can also be incredibly frustrating in equal measure, of course, when you are trying to capture the essence of something real on paper and it just isn't working.
But one of the things I realized, and it came out last week during a conversation with Jeannine after we'd taken a break from eating fried clams, swimming, and gazing at the ocean from the back deck of the house we're renting to travel up to Portland, ME and see the Winslow Homer exhibit, is that I don't need to be so picky about getting everything, all the shapes and textures and other pertinent details, JUST SO. It's something I'd learned a long time ago when I started drawing from life in college, and had kind of forgotten. But as Jeannine in her quiet wisdom so cogently put it, "The world is inspiration, and art is not a mirror."
I'm thinking I will continue this when I get home. There are lots of things to draw in the world, and I am going to try my hand at putting some of them in my sketchbook. -- PL