Sunday, October 15, 2017

Green Lake Resonance

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.


  1. Lovely sketch and a good insight. I'm most attracted to outdoor subjects, especially landscapes, and during the cold/rainy months I've tried drawing from photos but as you say, if it's not my own photo or a very familiar place, I'm just not that interested and the sketch will suffer. I definitely want to be engaged with whatever subject I'm trying to render.

  2. I think it is much easier to connect with a photo you took yourself. I think it is because you've been there and can feel some of what you felt and remember. Good luck with the rest of the drawing.

  3. I agree with Joan. It's easier to connect with a photo that I took myself. Just the fact that I can try to remember the light, the feeling, the vibe...everything around me when I took the photo helps me to draw and paint better.

  4. Thanks for your comments, Alex, Joan and Ching! A photo we take ourselves is better than nothing, but as well we all know, real life is best!


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