Oct 11, 2009
This is the most amazing experience. I started sketching with pencils seriously in the year 2004, when we were in Provence for several months and then stayed in Russia to paint for a 4 week stay around St. Petersburg and Staraya Ladoga and stayed in the Valaam island, a very remote a sacred island near the Finland border. A place where a lot of Russian painters have come to paint After I had sketched endlessly that Summer, I never really stopped. But this year 2009, I really geared up. Starting this Winter in the Black Forest in Germany, doing monochromatic pencils during the day and small pastels at night on a gray paper sketch book, to occupy my insomnia while cooking for our small group, I could draw from 4:00 am to 9:00 am practically every day. That is a lot of practice! I found a peaceful and happy place for myself, alone with my little material, so much more relaxing than oil painting. I could feel like a kid playing again, experimenting color combination, techniques, playing with images. Returning to my half home in California ( my other half and true home is in the high Plateau d' Albion in Provence ), I have been drawing these instant little impressions non stop. So since early June that we left for Provence I have done a good 1,200 sketches, anywhere from a few seconds to 20 minutes maximum. Those are rare. Mostly I sketch in the car when my partner and devoted driver takes us places , anywhere from home to the farmer's market - at least 4 sketches in that trip, to going to Sea Ranch and back, that is a full sketchbook. Here is the story: First, when you have a pencil in your hand you are not just a person looking at the landscape, you are an artist on alert. So I always, always have my sketchbook on my lap and my pencil in my hand, simple enough, and I am searching for a motif out there. Something to start with. Like the eagle searching for his prey... Second, you have to capture what ever you see, seeing is too big a word for that, what you seize would be more like it. It forces that brain to get a global and essential pattern that you have to memorize , because at the speed of driving, it is already gone. You do not have tine to copy anything: visualize, memorize, action! Put it down on the paper quick, impulsive, non judgmental, dynamic, the gesture of the tree, the gesture of the cloud, you got it in paper as a instant sketching - from the French "instantane" for "snapshot." After that, it is pretty much up to your imagination, how much you will embroider, compose and decorate around the instantane. As an example, the lone little California tree was one capture, the same little tree features in another sketch just above, that was another day on the same street, just outside my house. Look at the Graceful Trees Series. The pencil is dancing on the paper, literally. In Provence there is much more visual stimulation than there is in American suburbia. There, everything you put your eyes on to is beautiful, everything! so I have to work harder at it in Silicon Valley. But we also go places. At the end of the month I am going to Scottsdale for a week and will return by car. Now, that is something I am looking forward to do, be in a car for 15 hours or so, drawing along the way. I have made this trip before , did a lot of drawings, particularly in the desert and Central Valley, and loved the entire trip. Maybe after this I will have a better short hand for the essence of a palm tree, that seems to elude me so far.
Posted by Brigitte Curt