I have been feeling a little bit despondent about my sketching lately. I have still managed to work myself up to doing a bit of drawing during the week but I have felt somewhat . . . uninspired . . . to say the least. I look at the fabulous sketches of my fellow online students and arty friends, and see that they have done their sketches ‘on the bus’ or ‘in my lunch break’ or ‘in the doctor’s waiting room’ and I, who have no (valid) excuses for not sketching (and obviously a lot more free time on my hands than some of these people) feel like a complete wastrel.
This feeling is not entirely unexpected of course. I’m in the doldrums. It’s happened before and, no doubt, will happen again, but . . . sigh . . .
In the past, feeling like this has resulted in me stopping drawing altogether, sometimes for years, but I am determined that is not going to happen this time. I am going to try and push through, and if that means a sketchbook full of crappy, uninspiring sketches, then so be it! (That sentence was full of false bravado by the way. ‘So be it!’ Ha! Who am I kidding? I still get really upset with myself when I do a crappy, unspired sketch, but I am trying a little positive psychology on myself so I’ll let it go . . . )
In an effort to suck myself into a more positive frame of mind I looked back over my very first sketchbook, which I started last year. In it I found one of the first ‘outdoor’ sketches I attempted. With it I wrote — ‘. . . just to be clear, the pots are actually standing on a garden of bark chips (not just a patch of concrete)—but I have no idea how to draw bark chips so I just pretended they wasn’t there. I also ignored the rest of the garden—the back fence, the Hills Hoist, the three madcap dogs chasing each other in and around the pots—and anything else that was too hard. I think that’s called ‘artistic licence’ . . .’
At Sketchbook Skool they teach that there are no ‘bad’ drawings. Each sketch we do is a learning experience and therefore important in itself. Although I still struggle internally with this concept (I still believe that some of my drawing ‘experiences’ have been, and continue to be, pretty gruesome) I have tried to take this on board and so, although at times still sorely tempted, I no longer rip these offending pages out of my sketchbooks. I may not ever show these horrors to anybody else but there they will remain—pale (or sometimes scarily bright) memories of my ongoing artistic endeavours.
Finding that earlier sketch put me in mind of another I did, much more recently, of the same garden. It’s from a different angle (it was a cold day so the girls and I sat in the warmest spot we could find) but otherwise much is unchanged. The bird bath and many of the plants are the same—and I still haven’t worked out how to draw bark chips or the dogs racing around the garden—but, in spite of that, I do like the second drawing more than the first, and that’s definitely a step in the right direction.
So, sketching slump or no, I will soldier on. I am not going to give up. Realistically, how could I anyway?
What on earth would I do with all the cupboards (and drawers and boxes) still full of lovely (empty) sketchbooks. . . and pens . . . and inks . . . and pencils . . . and paints . . . and pastels and . . .