Friday, March 30, 2012

Speed is of the Essence

Sketched on 2/22/12, F-C Pitt Artist Pen 
I began making art with beads as my primary medium. I’m not talking about beads strung on a cord – I’m talking about glass seed beads less than a millimeter in diameter that are stitched together with a needle and thread. Needless to say, using this medium means that progress toward completion is measured not in minutes or hours but in weeks or months.

Although I’ve seen the work of artists whose drawings clearly can take weeks or months to complete, I’m not one of them. As a beader, I am hugely relieved if I finish a sketch in less than an hour. In fact, because my objective is to sketch from life, I want to be able to draw as fast as possible while still capturing the essence of a scene. People in coffee shops eventually get up and leave, and I never know if they are there for a quick break or two hours of free Wi-Fi, so I sketch them as quickly as possible. Even a few seconds of sketching time might not be long enough for birds pecking moss from the sidewalk. Pedestrians aren’t around much longer than that, either. Trees and buildings tend to stick around longer, but even so, it might start raining at any moment.

Typical of most of my coffee shop sketches, this one was completed in about 10 minutes.

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