Day two of my sketching walks and it was raining off and on. I didn’t walk very far but went down to the shore of the reservoir and looked across the water. It was tranquil initially, with just the purring of grasshoppers and whirring of dragonflies, but after about 20 minutes a sudden storm blew up with thunder and rain and a swirling wind.. so the first sketch was spattered with raindrops.
I retreated under the trees and looked across to the opposite shore where a large thunder cloud hung over the landscape. It caught up with me later.
Closer in, by the shore a little fir cone nestled in between the rocks.
There were some very raucous terns nearby who spent some time sitting on the rocks. One had a paler head, which I assume was a juvenile. Their aerial acrobatics are spectacular. I am not sure which terns they are, but they have very noticeably red legs.
The rain returned so I came home bringing these little snail shells to draw. I think they are the common brown banded snails. There are so many of them all along the sides of the path. What happened to their owners I wonder.
The Joy of Drawing Outside
Drawing like this, with no particular aim in mind is wonderful. There are lots of different kinds of drawing but I really consider this type of sketching as visual note taking. It doesn’t really matter if it’s correct or if no one else understands it. It’s for you and for your memory and for your visual ideas bank. It’s all about looking and seeing, about the marks, the subconscious choice, the automatic simplification and the random accidents, those are the things that matter.
You discover what attracts you and you automatically distill those important things from the whole mass of info that confronts you in an outdoor scene. That’s why it’s so much better than copying a photo. I think authors may do something similar, jotting down unconnected words or phrases or observations to be used later, or not…
I also realised today how much I love doing it. I sometimes find it hard to get out there, but simplifying the kit to just a pen, a pencil, a brush and a small sketch book helps! Then, of course, when I am out there, in amongst it all, I don’t want it ever to stop.
Coincidently Robert Genn’s excellent twice weekly artists newsletter fell into my inbox this morning and it was about drawing. It’s an interesting read.. see here,”Learning to Draw”, at the end he says this:
“I've encouraged both myself and others to experience the joy of drawing. It may be separate from painting, but it is certainly key to much that is great in painting. To find a line, to make it work, to really see it and know it holds life and energy or is pregnant with feeling, is to experience a kind of excitement that even sensitive observers cannot truly know. If only for the forward march of our own character, we need to fill our sketchbooks.
Ah yes Robert! How true… I am back to it tomorrow, promise!