Monday I was back to the travel sketching class, where the focus was on people. People, faces, bodies, used to be my thing, but not consistently practising these skills has shown a gap in what I know I can achieve and what comes out on the paper. I cannot blame the pen. I have chased another passion (creative writing), too much, and let my art skills languish. By coming to classes, I hoped to renew the passion I’d once held for art.
The first sketch, was fine: a self portrait sketched from a phone ‘selfie’. I’d certainly not done that before, although I had done a few self portraits using the old-style reflection in a mirror. Luckily I happened to have a recent phone selfie, showing off my new glasses, as I could imagine the ten photos I’d have to take in class to get one I remotely liked.
Like my artwork, my looks have changed throughout the years. From a plump youngster to a slimmer adult; from brunette to blonde; no glasses to more glasses, and so it goes. Okay, with my phone propped up in front of me, ink pen in hand, I execute the quick sketch requested. The watercolour I applied later. I wasn’t too unhappy with the result, but maybe I’ll take a few more selfies, for future drawing, just in case.
We changed to doing rapid continuous contour sketches, using class members as subjects. I just couldn’t get the whole figure on the page in the time, but had done the required line, so again felt okay having done something in a matter of minutes.
The problems came later, when we all went to the waterfront, purportedly to sketch up to fifteen individuals. Except, the directive slipped my mind. I couldn’t spot many people for a start and my output was miserable. When I saw what others had achieved, I felt stupid. Here were beginners, with pages full of figures, done in simple line, as the tutor had directed. They’d done a great job. I could have blamed ill-health, as I was recovering from a virus, but really, I have to admit I am a bad student. If a report was written for that day, I expect it might read something like this … is very capable but could do better. Listening skills need attention.