This is my 100th post, a day to take stock of my progress, and a day to determine next steps.
In the past few days I have been looking through my old sketchbooks and thinking about the question that drives this blog, “Am I drawing better?”
Although it continues to be hard to post sketches that I wish were better, the daily discipline of sketching and blogging about it is associated with accelerating growth. This is clear to me as I look through my sketchbooks from the last 50 years. After many years of static growth I feel I am improving. My growth is also helped by following the blogs of fabulous artists, taking on-line classes, sketching at an open studio weekly and most important of all, sketching with the San Diego Urban Sketchers.
But my real goal is to convey a story through every sketch and I have a long way to go before I can do this well. At this point I can look at a real scene, decide on a possible meaning, and then use strategies such as exaggeration or emphasis to show the story that is in front of me. But I am not yet able to compose a scene that tells a story. This is my goal for the next 100 days. I want to tell the story I feel as well as the story I see. I want to become a story creator as well as a story recorder.
The sketch above is my first attempt at telling a story I feel. I decided to show something about my parents, to interpret their relationship with each other, and with their many offspring. As I thought about them, I remembered how much they liked being together, being at the beach and being with all of us. So I began with a sketch from 2009 of my parents reading on the patio of my sister’s home. I chose this one because they are facing each other even as they read alone; I thought this might show their independence and interdependence. I added in figures from beach scenes that I sketched here in San Diego to represent the tumult of a large family reunion and to make the beach part of the context for their relationship. And I included a dog, since they always had at least one around.
I used markers, watercolor pencil and a pen.