Thursday, 23 February 2012
At Christmas my lovely daughter-in-law, knowing me to be a scribbler at all levels, gave me this special sketch book. Entitled 'One Sketch A Day - A Visual Journal', it is exactly that. The space for each day's small sketch is numbered, and there are a year's worth of spaces.
I started on Christmas day, and have drawn a quick sketch every day since. I am determined to complete the year.
I've drawn in the house, in the garden, in the place where I work as a volunteer, at the bus-stop, at the station - anywhere my daily routine has taken me.
I am seeing things differently. I am looking very, very hard at the details of my life, at the complexities of everyday objects, at the miraculous patterns of leaves and twigs, flower buds and fungus. It takes no more than ten minutes a day - maybe fifteen if I indulge in a bit of colouring-in, but in that time I feel my thoughts and vision changing.
Jenny Woolf, in her lovely travel writing, describes 'here' the happy effect of discovering previously unnoticed details in the background of her own photographs. It's easy for this to happen in photography, impossible in drawing.
Things I have spent even ten minutes studying, looking at really really hard are now etched into my visual cortex, so that as I lie in bed at night I can still marvel at the complexity and perfection of a stalk of sprouts. (Fond as I am of spouts, I had not appreciated the way they spiral round their main stem, presumably reacting to changing light. How clever is that?) Oh, the joy of sleeping alone, to be able to lie in peace, conjuring images of sprouts!
The jackdaw shown in the sketch has also appeared in written form in my blog 'here'. A few days ago he posed unwittingly for the time it took me to draw him, becoming increasing irritated by my failure to move and provide food, occasionally stamping his feet and frequently shouting at me. I feel I have him pinned down now, in words and images. I know the way his feet work, and the fact that some of his feathers have frayed ends. He knows that if I am visible, even if immobile for a while, it is worth stamping and shouting, as food will surely come.
I have studied and sketched the elaborate canopy of the railway station, the details of a bridge in the park, lots of architectural fragments, some elaborate Victorian candlesticks that I've dusted for years but never really looked at, and lots and lots of details of my about-to-burgeon garden.
A great daily exercise.