This sketch is of my friend Richard. Richard is a versatile musician. He plays Irish music, old time music, jazz. I’ve known him over a decade now, and he has taught me numerous tunes. I drew this picture in a Kunst & Papier watercolor journal I won from a contest held by one of my favorite bloggers, Roz Stendahl. The paper’s not great for watercolor; it doesn’t hold a lot of watercolor pigment and it buckles. But it’s a nice feeling book to work in, and the paper will take very light washes of color. I like the way the Tombow goes down, and I like the way pencil slides across the paper. The book is sturdy, and fun to carry around.
I love drawing musicians while they play music. Trouble is, I’m shy about sketching in front of people I don’t know. Or even those I do know, unless I trust them—as I do Richard. I’m still working on my chops in the portrait department, and I still feel inadequate. Criticism isn’t helpful.
I am trying to get over this. I’m trying to get over the feeling that people who look at me while I’m painting are grading me or rejecting me. I think it goes back to an old boyfriend who once said, “You’re not going to be one of those artists who draws in public all the time, are you? People will look at you!”
And people do look. They crane their necks to look at you, stand over you and breath on you, make comments. It’s disconcerting. But of course they look at you. David Hardy, at the Atelier, tells me that people “are fascinated and consider you special. You have added to the excitement in their life.” What?! Little old me?
I know that other artists aren’t shy. Roz Stendahl goes to places like the state fair specifically to sketch. She writes about these jaunts as if they were an expedition, packing what she’ll need as if she were going to discover and sketch the headwaters of the Nile. I’ve decided to emulate her.
This weekend we’re going to the Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival in Tres Pinos.I’ve never been, and I don’t play bluegrass music, although I’ve listened to a fair amount of it. My husband will be appearing in his band, Harmon’s Peak. I’m going on a mission: to draw people. I’m going to have to force myself to do it, as the thought of sketching in public like that makes me weak in the knees. What a wuss I am!
I’m planning it like it’s an expedition. I’ve got to choose what medium to work in, and which sketch book I’ll take. Then I have to remember my glasses. And to take deep breaths. And to have fun.