A while back I went to see a Norman Rockwell exhibition at the Crystal Bridges Museum.
As I was expecting, there was a bit of a line, so I sketched the crowd while I was waiting. It kept me entertained. The guy standing behind me kept peeking over my shoulder to see what I was drawing.
Once I made it into the exhibition, I made a quick sweep around the room to check out the art work.
What I did see of Norman Rockwell's work was inspiring. From what I can tell, he worked very quickly. But then you would have to if you are going to be as prolific as he was. It looked as though he started by covering the whole canvas in a background color and then filled in the painting with large blocks of solid colors adding a few touches here and there but generally keeping it pretty simple. He then put a lot of attention into the main section of the painting. There is no doubting where the focal point should be. Every line is drawing the eye to the most important part of the painting. Looking at Norman Rockwell's paintings in person felt like I was having a conversation with the man himself. I wish there had been fewer people at the museum so could have looked at the work more closely.
But seeing as the room was so packed full of people, I didn't really have the space to fully examine the art work very much so I sat down to draw...
I got in trouble for using a pen.
One of the museum workers gave me a dirty look
and handed me a tiny pencil to draw with.
I was unintentionally attracting attention. People kept asking me if I worked at the museum. I didn't think my drawing here would be considered such a novelty. Apparently, not very many people sketch at this museum. In the museums I visited in London, there were lots of people with sketchbooks.
I found it interesting how people flocked together in little groups
slowly migrating around in groups listening to audio tour guides.
I've been trying to work on observational drawing of people. I tried sketching at the mall but people are in too much of a hurry and I literally have to chase some people to finish a sketch. But people walk slower at the museum, making them easier to draw...and follow around. I will have to sketch in the museum more often.
Every ten years or so, my family decides to buy horses.
It always starts out the same, everyone (except myself) is outside riding horses for the first couple months. Then inevitably when the novelty wears off, life gets busy, and the horses are left in the field to become fat and wild. And within a year or two, we sell the horses.
Personally, I'm not very fond of horses. They smell, I am afraid of them (they are so big and heavy, if they decided to kill me, I wouldn't be able to do anything about it), and I am also (conveniently) allergic to them. I don't have much to do with them. But they do present a drawing challenge, so I went outside to sketch the horses (of course, keeping a safe distance away, with a hot wire fence between me and them)...
I am still trying to catch up on all the old work I have yet to post.
Here is my sketches from an afternoon of following people around at the mall food court (my family says this is called "stalking"...I call it observational drawing) :
A stranger offered to take a woman's tray to the trash can, while she stayed to take care of her baby. You can see how they are bundled up in coats and scarfs...I did this sketch last winter...clearly I need to update my blog more often.
A little girl eating pizza.
This is of a woman searching through her bags for something.
This is my favorite sketch from the day. I saw this elderly man eating lunch by himself.
He seemed sad or lonely.
Someone carrying two drinks.
My brother's grandmother walked by.
It was interesting to see all these little glimpses into people's lives.
I have been neglecting this little blog and I should rectify the situation. I have an entire sketch book full of work that I plan on posting. Most of it is observational drawing and doodles. Here are some sketches to start us off:
This is Cricket, our energetic Jack Russel. She knows all kinds of tricks: sit, roll over, spin, lay down, she can walk on her hind legs, shake, high five, she plays dead when ever anyone points a finger gun at her and says "bang", you can put a treat on her nose and she will (usually) wait to eat it until you tell her she can, and she is learning how to jump through a hoop...yeah, so she is a lot of fun to play with.
I don't know about you but I never seem to have a bookmark handy. I have hundreds of books but very few bookmarks. I end up using envelopes or torn scraps of paper. I set out to do something about it. I found one of those scraps of paper and started sketching on it. It turned into this:
To see the full image check out the new bookmark available on my Etsy Shop.
Lately, I've been doodling these little furry creatures. I really have no idea what they are but everyone I've showed it to thought they were bear cubs....so I guess that is what they are. I took those little bears and placed them in a barrel and shoved them into a raging river. I really hope they survive the trip. Especially since these little cubs are representative of me and my friends.
I'm the bear in the back with my hands in the air yelling at the waterfall, "Bring it on!" My friend Meg is the bear on the left saying, "Let me off, let me off, let me off!" My friend Liza is in the bear in the middle who is thinking "I think I'm gonna be sick." And I have no idea who is on the right (I needed them to make the composition work) but, whoever they are, I was the one who talked them into this barrel and they are probably thinking "This was a bad idea. Why do I always follow the crowd?!"
I had a lot of fun working on this project. Honestly, it didn't feel like a project, it felt like I was playing around. But then isn't that how illustration projects should feel, right? It looks like I am making some gradual progress learning to relax and enjoy what I do.
I feel like I could have done more with this drawing but I wasn't sure exactly what, so I decided to stop while it still looks good. As Leonardo da Vinci said, "Art is never finished, only abandoned."
I love exploring caves. It is probably one of the darkest places on earth (with the exception of the ocean floor). It is so dark, if you shut off your flash light, you can't see your hand in front of your face. Yet, in this darkness there is such beauty and life that so few people get to see. I find it serene and inspiring...and yet at the same time really challenging. There are times when I am faced with some dangerous, intimidating obstacle. And I freak out and think this is too hard, too scary, I'm gonna die or get hurt really bad, there is no way I can do this. But I know I have reached a point of no return. I can't turn back. We have burned our bridges behind us, so to speak. My only option is to deal with the situation head on. I calm myself down, I ignore my fears, and I move forward. When I exit the cave, I am so proud of myself. And the next time I go caving, I believe in myself and my teammates more than I did the time before.