Daily Archives: August 21, 2014

Timeout for Art: Start Anywhere


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One way to start a sketch is to consider the composition, plot the edges and choose whether landscape or portrait view would best suit the arrangement. Viewfinders – which at their simplest are simply two hands, with thumbs and index fingers held at right angles to form a frame – can be helpful in making those decisions.

Another way to begin a sketch is the “start anywhere” approach: put pen to paper and draw whatever fits in the frame. Sometimes it seems like an other-worldly adventure with surprises at every turn. If brain and hand work together, it feels like one is actually traversing the terrain.

There are surprises and disappointments. The tacks on the door form a random pattern of dots that add interest; the sliver of empty space above the door is a bit jarring and would be avoided in a planned composition. There is angst (if I’d started a bit larger – or to the left – I wouldn’t be faced with trying to make sense of that jumble of fabric and paper tacked on the door).

There is a sense of honesty in a sketch like this, that is born of it’s compositional lack, the record of place and the moment.

It’s rarely a path to a “show-able” drawing, but it’s a good exercise.