Saturday, September 24, 2022

My 11th Year: Still Learning


9/19/22 Green Lake

A while back, a newbie urban sketcher had posted a sketch in the USk Seattle Facebook group, expressing disappointment in it. Commending her for sharing it anyway, I said, “It’s disappointing only if you think in terms of the result. As a process, every sketch you make takes you closer to whatever you see as your end goal. And regardless, every sketch tells a story – which is the goal of urban sketching.” 

Recently at Green Lake, I spotted some trees across the playfield, quite a distance away. Just beginning to turn, they were pretty but not spectacular. The real problem was that there was no composition to speak of – just a bunch of trees next to the community center building. Even as I sketched, I was thinking that the composition lacked depth, lacked a focal point and lacked a clear path for the eye. Hmmm… maybe putting geese and cones in the foreground would help, I thought. I could have stopped and looked for a better composition, but it was 70 degrees and sunny in September – my favorite kind of fall weather. On a day like this, I could be drawing a rock in the driveway and be happy, I told myself, and continued.

When I finished (above), I had to concur with myself: Yup, still no composition. I was mildly but predictably disappointed. That’s when I had to remind myself of my own advice to that sketcher (which I have also offered to many other sketchers over the years): It’s disappointing only if I think in terms of the result. As a process, every sketch I make takes me closer to my goal, which is to keep learning to draw.

9/21/22 Green Lake (sketched quickly on my 11th anniversary so that 
I could get out of the smoke as soon as possible on an otherwise gorgeous day)

Sept. 21, 2011, I started drawing
, and I’ve been drawing ever since. My 11th anniversary was a few days ago, which I had meant to commemorate here on my blog, but I didn’t remember until it was too late to plan. (For last year’s 10th anniversary post, I had been thinking for weeks about what I wanted to say about that milestone.) However, I did observe the anniversary date as I do every day: I made a sketch (at left). I like this one a lot better – it has a good composition, and the secondary triad is effective in capturing the dull, hazy hues of a smoky day. In this case, I’m happy with the result, but it’s still just one more step toward my goal.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” I’ve learned much in 11 years, and I still have much more to learn. I intend to continue learning for the rest of my life. The way I do it is by turning to the next page in my sketchbook.


  1. Congratulations on the achievement 👏👏. To be able to keep learning is a blessing 😌!

  2. I have really enjoyed your sketching over the years, and continue to learn by your example. Thanks for taking us along for the journey!
    Cathy I

    1. Thank you, Cathy, for accompanying me all these years! I appreciate your encouragement and support!

  3. Keep filling those pages!!! I am glad you are still learning and sharing your knowledge with all of us.


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