|3/16/14 Platinum Carbon ink, Diamine Grey ink wash, Zig marker, Canson XL 140 lb. paper|
Whenever I take a sketching workshop, I feel like whatever results from the exercises aren’t my “real” sketches because the compositions are either contrived (by being directed by the instructor) or I received so much help that I can hardly tell which lines are mine. Did I really learn, or do I just feel like I learned because I nodded whenever a concept was explained, and I thought I understood? For me, the “final exam” for such workshops is always whatever happens after the class is over.
This morning Stephanie’s Good Bones workshop participants joined the Seattle Urban Sketchers in the Chinatown-International District. While others ducked out of the pouring rain into cafes or shivered under awnings to sketch iconic ID buildings, I headed straight for the King Street Station. I’ve sketched there twice before – once last May, and again in December – and both times I avoided (perhaps evaded is more accurate) any views that would have required exercising the dreaded P word: Perspective. But today I knew that if I wanted to say I had passed the workshop, I would have to give myself the final exam.
With that in mind, I plunked myself down on one end of the station’s main floor looking out at the grand columns near the front entrance and up at one of the curved corner balconies. As instructed, I began by drawing in a reference rectangle in the distance as well as my horizon line and vanishing point. I started to draw in the converging guidelines with pencil, but as I did, my brain was fighting me every step of the way: Those lines can’t be right! Look with your eyes! How could they be right?! So I fought back in the only way I knew how: I switched to indelible ink!
I didn’t show the sketch to Stephanie to hear her tell me I had passed; I knew I had. But I did show it to her to let her know that I couldn’t have made this sketch before taking her workshop.