Saturday, March 2, 2013

On Not Making Things Harder than They Have to Be

It's the second day of March and I'm posting my second sketch.  Hey, I'm on a roll!  I don't often sketch in pencil so I thought I'd give it a go today.  (In all honestly, I don't sketch often enough in any medium, which is why I challenged myself to post a sketch every day this month.)

It's rather chilly out so I looked through my blog for a photo to use as inspiration.  The image I chose was part of a post entitled Aiming Past the Wood back in October of 2010.  It's hard to believe I've been blogging for nearly four years.  Wow!  

I remember photographing this scene the day the huz taught our son to split wood.  They set the axes aside to take a break just before I walked up with the camera.

Okay, so I probably could have worked outside wasn't that cold.  In fact, my friends on the east coast and in Canada would think me a bit if a wimp (and rightly so) if they knew the high was about 50 degrees Fahrenheit, so please don't tell them.  When I see a winter scene I know was painted en plein air, I am in awe.  Can you imagine trying to draw or paint while standing on a snowy road?  This attitude reveals a real lack of passion on my part, I suppose.  

Snow at  Argenteuil, Claude Monet, 1875 (source)

Ideally I would like to sketch only from life but I do find that working from a photograph helps me see spatial relationships of objects to each other and to the frame a little better.   The camera has already done the work of turning the subject into a two dimensional image.  It's a bit of a crutch but as I try to get back in the sketching groove I simply choose not to make things harder than they have to be.

Photographs also come in handy when you want to experiment with composition a bit. This cropped image is a much more pleasing arrangement and it really emphasizes the main memory attached to the drawing.

So this isn't a sketch of something that's a part of my world on this day, but chopping wood has definitely been a very big part of our lives since we moved to East Texas.  During our first eighteen years here we heated our home exclusively with a wood stove.  This only made sense because: a.) we were young and energetic, b.) our winters here are mild,  and c.) we were young and energetic.

Nothing has changed much since then except that we are no longer young and energetic.  Oh, it was all very romantic for a time...all that sacrifice and doing things the hard way but, quite frankly, I no longer (you guessed it) choose to make things harder than they have to be

Linking today with:


  1. Great sketch. I'm a wimp too...I freeze under 28 degrees c. Monet probably had an apprentice stand out in the cold painting for him. :)

  2. I think drawing/painting in any weather is difficult and not just the elements but people and traffic and more people

    wonderful drawing, is it strange that I see the axes dancing?

    have a great day.

  3. Great sketch, wonderful texture!

  4. Hello Janice I'm so happy to visit and see all you've been up to, quite a lot! I've missed lots of posts, so many lovely creations! Your sketch is so well done, all those intricate lines making up the logs, great sketch!

  5. I quite like having the object I am drawing and a photo of it as well... I find that having a photo there helps me see things clearer at times... as to being a wimp... I am completely hopeless... where we live here in Australia it rarely makes it down to 50 even... so I would stay in in that sort of weather too... have a great creative week...xx

  6. I don't know how the plein air people do it. I can't paint in mittens, but the blazing sun doesn't seem much better! I'm okay with being a wimp!! I need creature comforts. Your sketch looks great, I love the way you got the texture of the bark.

  7. Love. :) Your sketch is lovely. And chopping wood reminds me of when I grew up and watched my dad + brothers chop wood for our wood stove. Thanks for the memories :)

  8. I don't really do much outside either. But it just hit 40degrees F for the first time yesterday, for the year. So, that was nice...

    I like working from photographs as well, but my teachers always had said that they could tell when you were working from a photograph vs real life. I never could tell the difference, but they said that working from your photograph made the drawings look 2d, and not so-life-like. Like I said, I never could tell, so I always thought they were full of hot air. lol


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