14 February 2010

A New Diversion

I have a new hobby. My old Ma used to say that I need another hobby like I need another hole in my head but nevertheless I have a new self inflicted pastime. By the way, in Spanish a hobby or a pastime is called a "pasatiempo" (pah-sah-TIEM-poh). Ever since I was a little kid I have admired people who could draw. I have always been frustrated by my inability to draw anything other than stick people or block houses like we used to do in kindergarten with a window, a door, a peaked roof, and a chimney. In a half century I had progressed no farther than that so I decided that it was time to learn something new. Some people have a problem speaking. They get tongue tied. I don't have that problem. I have a problem drawing. I get "finger tied". I discovered that there are a lot of people like me and also that there is something that we can all do about it. Some folks have talent for drawing and good hand to eye coordination and they can't understand why other people just can't pick up a pen or pencil and draw like they can. Those of us who have no talent or natural ability must dig down and learn the things that we must do to at least "fake it".

I discovered that one can reproduce an image with simple materials by two different methods. One method is called "art" and the other is called "drafting". It is possible for just about everyone to learn a little plane geometry and some of the mechanical drawing techniques of the draftsman. One can then add some color and call it "art" even though it lacks the magic touch of a true artist. I have found that there is a lot of satisfaction in this, especially when one realizes that they are doing something that they never thought they could do. There some are other benefits besides self aggrandizing as well. For one thing drawing or "sketching" is very challenging but at the same time very relaxing. In addition, you don't need any special material to start out with and you don't need any classes although in the beginning that might help. There are plenty of instructional books available and there are a number of free tutorials and other information available on the Internet. One of the best reasons that I have found for sketching, however, is that it is unobtrusive. Instead of running around poking a camera at everything and everybody I can sit in one spot and take my time to capture an image or more importantly, capture the things that impressed me most about an image. Later on, when I go back to look at the image the whole memory of sketching it comes back to me and I remember the day and the circumstances and all of the little details that went in to making it. With photography, on the other hand, I have so many old photographs that I look at now and say to myself "Where did I take this shot and who are these people?" or "Why did I waste my time taking a picture of that old thing?"

On Saturday I went to the park to sit in the sun and I brought my sketchbook along. I drew the sketch that you see below in pencil and then when I went home I inked it in and added water colors. The sketch represents the jogging track at our local park, the Irapuato Parque Convivencia Familiar (DIF) where it runs alongside the volleyball courts. I chose the scene because of the challenges that it presented. For one thing there were a bunch of lines that all came together at one point at the base of the IMSS hospital building in the background. There were also shadows to deal with and the chain link fence that surrounds the ball court. I made some mistakes with this drawing but that is how I learn and each drawing appears to be a little better than the last. I have a confession to make though. In real life there were people in this scene but I can't do people very well yet so I left them out. That is one of the benefits of drawing. You can leave out or put in anything you want. In fact, deciding what to leave in or leave out is a big part of sketching and it is fun. If the scene that you are drawing has trash in it or graffiti you can leave it out if you want to and if there is something ugly that is ruining the scene you can give a "makeover". You can cut the grass, you can make the flowers bloom and hey...you can even make your fat friends look skinny. I'm sure they won't mind.

I have discovered some delightful blogs that have given me a lot of sketching inspiration. They are collective blogs where sketch artists and illustrators from all over the world send in their sketches for others to look at and comment on and in my case, to marvel at. The subjects of the sketches are are anything and everything. There is something for everybody. Click on this link "Urban Sketchers" to take you to the first blog. This is my favorite. There are two blogs that are connected with this blog and are offshoots of it called "Urban Sketchers Spain" and "Urban Sketchers Argentina" and I follow these also. Another favorite sketching blog is called "Sketching in Nature" and it is dedicated to people who like to draw flora and fauna. I am amazed at how popular this "sketching" thing is becoming. Who knows, it just may be the new "blogging". I encourage anyone who always wished that they could draw but never seemed to get anywhere to take another look at it. If there is hope for me then there is certainly hope for you too. Let's get some action going here!

(Click on picture to enlarge)


YayaOrchid said...

Very nice artwork Bob! I too am one of those who cannot sketch, although I very much wish that I could. Nothing wrong with adding a hobby to your repertoire. It keeps those brain cells working!

1st Mate said...

Que buena obra, amigo! After all that about being "finger-tied" I wasn't expecting such a good drawing. You've got your perspective right, the shadows are well done (not overdone), the colors are appealing and I like how you approached it from a corner, so much more interesting than square-on. Know what it reminds me of? A New Yorker cartoon. Don't let that offend you, those guys get the big bucks for work very much like yours.

One of the things that's fun about drawing is how it makes you study things you may have been looking at for years, seeing how they're put together.

I've been drawing lately too, mainly to give the contractor an idea how I want the back of my place to look, and every time we make a change I have to do a new one. But I've started enjoying drawing again, even though so far my results are klutzy. Haven't even gotten to the color yet. And, guess what? To me they look like cartoons.

Alice said...

That's an excellent piece! I like to get my drawing inspiration from Ed Emberely -- not very realistic but a fun and entertaining way to draw.

Tancho said...

Somehow I am not surprised Bob.
As I have mentioned before you are one of the Renaissance men that keeps intriguing me with your vast experiences and stories along with your new talents...

bordersaside said...

Whoo hoo for new hobbies, I also love hobbies and have many. Drawing is and always has been one of them. Although Im not great its like you said very relaxing and fun. Although I am a bit of a perfectionist and after I finish with any piece I tend to give it away or put it away or else I will constantly critic it and want to "fix" it. ;)

Unknown said...

Dios Bob:

Parece ese arte acuarelas. Muy interesante.


JohnnyMex said...

For just starting a hobby - that is very good. I checked out the other websites and they too are very interesting. When do you think we will be able to see some more of your work? How is Irapuato, Guanajuato this time of year?

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.