|10/12/17 Green Lake (in progress)|
My latest graphite class assignment is shown above (still in progress; there’s a bush in the left foreground that’s especially challenging, so I’m going to ask my instructor for help before I tackle it). I must say I enjoy drawing trees much more than clouds or rocky shorelines. And I’m enjoying this week’s homework a lot more than the past weeks’ assignments for other reasons: I’m very familiar with the location (Green Lake), and I took the reference photo myself.
Even though making the drawing is no less challenging with a familiar landscape, it somehow makes a difference to know and understand which way the shoreline is curving, how far away those trees are from the shore where I stood when I took the photo, the time of day and year – things like that.
I think it has to do with resonance – how meaningful the subject matter of a drawing is and how that affects its outcome. I talked about resonance a few years ago and how discovering urban sketching finally made drawing “stick” as a habit. Of course, sometimes a trash bin is just a trash bin, and the subject matter doesn’t have to resonate meaningfully to turn into a sketch. (If you read my blog regularly, then you know that my standards for what makes an object sketch-worthy are certainly low.) But a photo of a landscape is already once-removed from the actual location, and a photo of a place I’ve never seen with my own eyes is even further removed. No wonder there’s no resonance at all.