Friday, 13 July 2012

Carry On Looking Hard





As if in subconscious defiance against the perpetual greyness of this English summer I seem to have moved into colour with my daily drawings. I didn't realise until I looked back through my visual diary, which I first wrote about 'here', back in February, when I was relatively new to the discipline of daily drawing.
In a determination not to let my daughter-in-law down (she gave me this Sketch-a-Day book for Christmas) I have not missed a day this year (and she says that's got Christmas sorted for me for the next umpteen years).
I should have noticed because my miniature pencils are dwindling, especially the greens, and I can't find any replacements.

Then I wonder if it's such a good thing to look back through what has become not just a series of little drawings, but a visual journal of my little life.
It is all about plants and the garden, small snatches of life elsewhere, the corner of an office, a view from the attic window, a sleeping dog, the seating pattern in a train, the fish tank in the dentist's waiting room.
It seems too small, but then I console myself by realising that I can't draw the most significant things of all, which are people.
I can sit and stare at a leaf for ten minutes, but it's not possible to do it to a person (unless you pay them to be a model, that is, or unless you go to art classes and draw with other people).

I've had a go, in my discreet way.
I was captivated by a couple in a cafe recently. He was eating a big wedge of carrot cake, using both hands to support it, and she, in her tiny shorts and gold sandals was sending text messages on her tiny phone. While she was thus occupied he leaned over and lifted her slice of carrot cake with both hands and transferred it to his own plate. She reached out, eyes still on the screen, found her plate empty, sighed, sipped her coffee and continued to text. I managed to capture some of the action, and the colour of his face and her shorts, which matched, as did the magnificent convex curve of his frontage and the corresponding concave of hers, but I was aware I  really should not be doing it.


I managed to capture the mutual admiration of a man and a swan as they gazed at each other on the riverside, although I think the swan was possibly more fixated on the sandwich being slowly eaten. But they made a good pattern against the hypnotic swirling of the beige river, and they were sufficiently engrossed in one another as not to notice me.

Then I went to a day-time screening of 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel',and I'm pleased to say that I managed to capture something of the great froth of white haired audience against the rich red flounces of the safety curtain.

So I've used some reds and dark pinks and beige, but mainly my artistic endeavours seems to be blues and mauves and endless, endless shades of green from the dank and dripping vines, the collapsing herbaceous beds, the sodden lawn, the fruit-free tomato plants.

7 comments:

marigold jam said...

LOved your description of the couple in the cafe! Isn't everything so very green this year - hardly surprising considering the rainfall but sad that the tomatoes aren't fruiting. Keep up the good work - I wish I could draw or paint but as I can't I keep up with my writing instead!

Relatively Retiring said...

Thank you, Marigold. All the fruit is disappointing, isn't it. I could use some purple and grey for the raspberries rotting on the canes.

Zhoen said...

Oh, I don't think that you shouldn't. Quite the opposite.

And you need some green pencil replacements.

Relatively Retiring said...

Zhoen: those miniature pencils are from a Japanese shop, and now they've stopped selling them. I only really need green! I'm just going to have to go to Japan.

Leslee said...

Oh, your drawings are wonderful - and I laughed out loud at the texting woman finding her plate empty. You certainly sketched the scenes in words as economically and colorfully as your drawings. Hope you'll continue to share - both!

Relatively Retiring said...

Leslee: Many thanks. I probably found the words more telling than the sketch on that one!

Beth said...

Well, better late than never! How I've loved reading these two posts on your drawings, and seeing your marvelous drawing themselves -- they are wonderful, full of life and an easyness than I really like. As for drawing people - I don't know, I've gotten over it. I just do it; sometimes asking permission first but usually not. It's not like photographing them blatantly, and if people ask,of course I show them what I'm doing. Each situation is different though, and I aim for anonymity. And yes - the world we draw is small and intimate, and that's fine. So many people barely know that world, in which they spend their entire lives! Please show us more - I'd love to see more of your work.