Timeout for Art: Sketching



Much of the year, I live in a world that is predominantly black and white. I notice subtle variations in tone, textures, and how the light lets the shadows create another layer of interest. You might think sketching in black and white would come easily to me. That would be an incorrect assumption. I used to love to draw…and I used to draw a lot. No more. With other materials pulling my attention away, I let drawing fall by the wayside.

Sometimes I really miss it: the zen-like state of studying the subject, the marking tool moving smoothly across the paper, and the magic of an object or a scene coming to life on the page. Mostly, I feel bad about letting a skill go, simply from lack of practice. I’ve been thinking, lately, about how to change that. Discipline is not one of my strengths.

I’ve been plotting out a drawing class (“You teach best what you most need to learn.”), as a means of getting back into drawing regularly. With about an hour divided between instruction beforehand and discussion afterward, we could still fit a good hour of drawing time into every two-hour class. An hour a week to draw is about an hour a week more than I’ve given that practice in the last year.

More immediately, though, I decided to try to do at least one sketch every day. As with all of my great plans (daily meditation, exercise, writing, cleaning…), it’s been a little hit-or-miss. As I mentioned, I’m not very disciplined. I did, however, bring my sketchbook along on my trip down-state, and then on to Florida, and managed to make at least one simple sketch every day of my vacation. So, that’s what I’m featuring today, in my “timeout for art.”


About cindyricksgers

I am an artist. I live on an island in northern Lake Michigan, USA. I have two grown daughters, four strong, smart and handsome grandsons and one beautiful, intelligent and charming granddaughter. I live with two spoiled dogs. I love walking in the woods around my home, reading, writing and playing in my studio.

10 responses »

  1. If I lived near you, I’d certainly be taking your class, Cindy. You are quite skillful.

    I think I remember seeing in one of your posts that you like the book ‘Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.’ If I’m remembering correctly, do you think it helped you with your art or were you naturally talented? I’m asking because I’ve had a copy of the book for years but haven’t done anything with it.

    By the way, what do you mean when you say that your world is predominantly black and white? Isn’t it full of colour?

    • I always liked to draw, Karen, and had some very good teachers that encouraged it. I was pretty old, and already working as an artist before the Right Side book came out. I love it, though, and use it in my teaching. It is really worthwhile.
      As for my black and white world, unless Lake Michigan freezes, it puts out so much steam that most winter days, we never see the sun, and the sky is just gray. Pine trees are rare in my neck of the woods, so the winter landscape is mostly black and white. It makes me appreciate any color that’s out there,from the tan leaves of beech that hang on all winter, to anything green! Right now, I’m relishing the spring blooms! Thanks for reading, and for your comments!

  2. I’ve recently started drawing, painting, and repurposing stuff into garden art. I had no idea it was in me. Reading your post today inspires me to sketch more often.

    • It’s a great way to hone your skills, develop ideas, and just record what’s going on…a visual diary of sorts. I’m so glad to hear you’re finding an artistic side! I think we all have it in us…just need to bring it out. Thanks for reading, and for your comments!

  3. I’m glad you explained to Karen why you see the world black and white. I thought maybe you had a form of colour blindness.

    Stopping by as I visit the other 13 “no longer strangers” bloggers from Karen’s blog.

    • Oh, I’m glad you stopped by! And I’m glad, too, that I clarified that “black and white” remark. Here on Beaver Island, after a long winter, it just seemed so obvious that I didn’t think to explain. Thanks for reading, AJ, and for your comments! I will also be visiting each of the other 13 mentioned in Karen’s blog, veyr soon.

  4. Hi Cindy! I love that you shared your sketches. They’re quite beautiful, and offer nice insight into your vacation days. I find myself intrigued, looking at the way you manage the direction of the ink and admiring your bravery and confidence in going straight of the pen!

    • Oh yes, I don’t like erasures, even when my lines are clearly crooked. So, a pen has advantages – especially for travel – that pencils do not: no smudging, smearing or graphite dust. Thank you for your kind comments!

  5. Hola Cindy! Earlier today I was in a ‘cyber’ where I stayed for over three hours – writing and uploading the Global Big Day post, reading and answering emails, and loading pages to read offline. It’s almost 8 pm now; the ‘wilderness’ is almost quiet – aside for what I think are crickets chirping, and I’ve enjoyed looking at all of those beautiful sketches of yours… so beautiful, and they will cement the memories of your trip for your future ‘flips’ through your sketchbook.
    The drawings look like they’re in ink? I’ve been disappointed with my sketches, once the books are ‘well traveled’ which smudges the once-crisp drawings. Yet ink is not my favorite for sketching….
    A drawing class sounds like a great plan, and everyone wins – teacher and students, as we all have something to share, and we learn by observing others as well….

    • Yes, because of the pencil smudging, I prefer to sketch with fine point indelible markers. Kind of the look of ink and quill, but much easier. For art drawing, I prefer pencils, usually very soft Mars Lumograph, ebony or charcoal. Not that I’ve done much drawing beyond sketching in AGES! Thanks for your comments, Lisa!

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