Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Sketchbook Habit

"An artist is a sketchbook with a person attached." --Irwin Greenberg

Preparation in art is a matter of keeping your eyes in training.  I often say that each year when I return to Maine, I get my eyes back.  Looking and seeing are two different activities.  The former just needs to identify objects without much detail identification or naming.  But seeing implies that you stop for a longer studied view of things:  their shapes, values, subtleties of color and texture.  Giving your brain and heart the time to connect with what you see is an invaluable skill in the production of meaningful, emotional art.

Your sketchbook is the shorthand reminder of these moments.  Jotting down impressions helps to free us from overwhelming details and allows us to be free to adjust things and improve them.  To find patterns, alter colors, add figures, experiment with values....All are easier when dealing with a reference sketch.

So tuck that sketchbook in your car, and take advantage of waiting times or unexpected vistas.  Keep your eyes and your hand busy and they will be ready for you when it comes time to paint that masterpiece!

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