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Sketching - Dictation from Life (L1/11)

Author: Larry Seiler, Contributing Editor

The various directions I have taken (and will continue to take) the readers of WetCanvas!, might give the impression that I have no real personal focus of my own art. On the contrary. I am going in this direction because of all the past learnings that got me from point "A" to here. As many of you know, that direction is painting landscapes.

I believe one's development is really an evolution and that reaching a summit is hinged upon linking one plateau to another. This gives me a respect for patience, enduring to believe in yourself, and simply living long enough to see that patience and endurance pay off! I am going to share with you today one essential aspect of my own development as an artist that I seriously believe I could not have done without. That is the topic of today: "sketching."

Weekend warriors in athletics learn that they either have to incorporate stretching into their regimen, or they will suffer injuries that threaten to halt their sport activity. Sketching is the aerobics, the stretching...the weight program behind my becoming and maintaining the demands that I place upon myself as an artist.

I'll begin by stating what sketching is not. It is NOT drawing. This is a most difficult concept to get across to my students.

We can mat and frame a drawing, then hang on display to wow our viewers. A sketch is a personal language, a note-taking that would lead up to a finished document. Similar to a secretary's shorthand dictation, it may appear to others as a mess.

Note the close up of the blackbird drawings (below), and see how marks of the pen suggest the bird. You learn how to trick the viewer's eye to see more than is there.

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