Thursday, April 7, 2016

A Ballpoint-I (Almost) Always Have One Along

I was in Gig Harbor for a committee meeting. After everyone else left, I decided to stay in Kimball's Coffee Shop for a while longer and wind down from the adrenaline that seems to rise during a good meeting.

I'd left my sketch bag in the car and didn't feel like going out to get it. But, I know myself well: I had a tiny, 3.5 x 5.5, Fabriano sketchbook in my pocket....and a ballpoint pen I'd used to take notes during the meeting. No one needs more than that....and one could even do with less: I've seen beautiful ballpoint sketches on cardboard coffee cups, around the edges of meeting notes, and on the inner side of cardboard cereal boxes...and, of course, the proverbial cheap white napkin.

The shop had been crowded earlier, but it was empty now...except for the nice paintings on the wall done by members of the Peninsula Art League. Then, fortunately, two women came in for a beverage, making my day. I love to sketch people in coffee shops!

One thing I love about ballpoint pens, besides the likelihood that I have one 'on me' most of the time...is that it's possible to easily achieve the whole range of values using them. Another thing I like about these pens for sketching is that there's no pressure to 'make art.' Using a ballpoint, my mind is fooled into thinking 'this is just a doodle' so no worries. I don't have even close to that same feeling with any other kind of pen.  In fact, I'm just barely getting over the intimidation factor of sketching/drawing with any pen costing more than $4....with my inner peace heading for the hills as the price (and the juiciness) of the pen goes up.  So much so that I feel the need to do a pencil under-sketch (sometimes) before I allow myself to make a mark with one of the fancier pens. I know: I should take more sketching breaks and sketch with all sorts of pens more often..and JUST GET OVER IT. Sketching OFTEN does that for you--but then, life is sometimes pretty busy. So, meanwhile, if you're at all like me, you'll admit that a ball point is that favorite old pair of sweat pants or well-worn bedroom slippers. A ballpoint is a sweet cool breeze on a warm day, and it's polliwogs in a creek: nothing to worry about. A bit of quiet, peaceful bliss.

I just received a book in the mail that looks very interesting: "The Art of Ballpoint" by Matt Rota. So far, I've only had time to flip through the pages...it looks to offer some ideas, approaches, information about what other ballpoint pen lovers are 'up to' ---in other words, a book full of new ballpoint sketching pals. You're welcome to join us!!

Best,

Frances


3 comments:

  1. Your ballpoint sketch is lovely, Frances -- the shading is done on the face very nicely. I read Matt Rota's book a few months ago and found it both fascinating and inspiring. I had no idea fine art was being done with the lowly Bic! I never used to sketch in ballpoint, but ever since reading that book, I've been practicing sketching with ballpoint occasionally. So much bang for the buck!

    Tina

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Tina! I like that, with a ballpoint, I can make such light marks that I can sort out my composition and make some general 'relational marks'..and those disappear when I continue sketching. :-)

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  2. Your ballpoint sketch is lovely, Frances -- the shading is done on the face very nicely. I read Matt Rota's book a few months ago and found it both fascinating and inspiring. I had no idea fine art was being done with the lowly Bic! I never used to sketch in ballpoint, but ever since reading that book, I've been practicing sketching with ballpoint occasionally. So much bang for the buck!

    Tina

    ReplyDelete