I’ve always found a sketch helps me remember a place or location far more clearly and in much more detail than photographs. More so the with the advent of digital imagery.
We regularly travel on a canal boat and, on a trip last year, I set myself a challenge.To do a sketch a day in my Moleskine.
After a rocky start I settled into the routine. Those pictures were the unlocking of a key. I can’t quite describe how significant they are but I’ll try. I remember details about the weather, which way the wind was blowing, moments when I realised a shape was a roof or a pile of boats, where the errors are, which colours I chose, where I was sitting on the boat. I look at these sketches and I’m back where I was when I was drawing them. I’d finally mastered the concept of the quick sketch.
This year I set myself the challenge again. On Monday, we set off and are currently heading North on the Grand Union Canal. But what to sketch? It was too dark to sketch outside by the time things we’d stopped. So the bottle of beer I was holding became my subject. I’m not sure the quality really lives up to my standard. But quality has a tendency to decline the more beer is imbibed! Hic!
Yesterday morning I was surprised at breakfast by a swan appearing at the side hatch. I considered for a nanosecond I could sketch him…
But, he was looking for food and more than a little bit scary! You try eating you porridge with a swan’s head craning over the hatch opening - a hungry one at that… Beak at ear level! Who just happens to be testing everything to see if it’s food…Believe me you’ll appreciate my dilemma!
A photo opportunity seemed a safer option. I present the Evil Swan! (Pronounced Eeeevil as in Austin Powers Dr Evil!
I know, I’m a wimp but he reminded me of that sinister looking penguin in Nick Park’s “The Wrong Trousers” It’s the eye, it’s always the eyes AAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!
So I wimped out and produced this little sketch! Sitting on the roof as the children climbed up and down. I spent most of the time expecting to hear a splash as one of them fell in. Several false alarms later I was finished.
Though looking at it now, I think I just stopped! It’s the same thing isn’t it?
What do you mean “NO!”