Thursday, December 7, 2017

Sketching: Fast and Loose or Slow and Tight: a Sketcher's Choice

 I love Urban Sketching! Thank you, Gabi Campanario, for founding this now world-wide Urban Sketching movement!  Many of us could make those same two exclamations.

Why we love Urban Sketching varies from sketcher to sketcher. For me, it lures me into allowing myself the free time to delve into being fully present to what is around me, to 'converse' with it, so it becomes memorable to me.... and, because sketching leaves an artifact, it may become memorable to others, possibly, as well.

My sketches bounce back and forth between being:

1) loose: a pretty fast capture of a fleeting moment with fast hand movements placing marks on  paper...( Sketch one,  done at the 2017 Women's March: The people were not present at the same time...and then, only for moments).

2) tight: my mind and eyes and hands spend hours exploring all the forms and discernible values, colors, and  textures residing within my chosen field of seeing. (Sketch two, done at the Tacoma Art Museum, and the third sketch, done at a Bellingham WA Starbucks--none of the people were present at the same time...and the woman behind the window was originally inside the coffee shop, to the left of my table. I 'moved her' to an outside table.)

In either type of sketching, I'm also playing with using a mark-making implement to its fullest possibilities which I can achieve that day. I used a Micron .01 pen  in all three sketches...and a bit of colored pencil in the first one.

What I do as a sketcher is often less logical than emotional, whether my sketch is tight or loose.

For me, a quick-sketch is like a short but important conversation with a stranger on a bus. I know I have to get off the bus very soon but,  I want to see and hear and understand as much as  possible within the tiny time I have because of my fast approaching bus stop.

For me, creating a slowly-done sketch is similar to the experience I have when reading a complex, very worthwhile, great book.   I want to capture everything I possibly can from its slow, time-release of information. I want to experience the changes of insight that arise. I want to use all of the time I have available to discover, learn, know, and remember.

Best regards,


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