Friday, September 18, 2009

Grafton St and a Small Self-Portrait

Here are 2 quick sketches. One is on Grafton street looking down from the second floor balcony of Beweley's and watching the people go by. And above is a quick sketch of a self portrait that I did and then colored in Photoshop. Yes Photoshop. I'm trying to get back to actually looking, because I had drawn so many self portrait in HS that I was able to draw my face without actually looking at it anymore. Getting past the natural tendency of the brain to simplify what you see into symbols, and actually SEE what is in front of me has been actually tougher than it seems. So I hope you all enjoy, and I WILL be posting up a series of self portraits so that hopefully you'll be able to see the progression of my skills.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Devil... no God... is in the Details

So on my second day in Dublin (but my third.. fourth time there) I FINALLY got to see the book of Kells. After much drama to get there and waiting in a longer line than I expected, I was finally led into the exhibit that houses the book. Since photography was not allowed I pulled out my sketchbook and start drawing. I guess most tourist don't expect anyone to record memories/sights in such a manor anymore, because I drew a small crowd. In my uncomfortable limelight I drew as quickly as possible. I was though unable to actually draw from the book of kells... to many people crowding around and trying to see. I was able to sketch another illuminated manuscript from Ethiopia. Still amazing to see, and I wished I could have a small moment (even if it meant wearing a bio suit, to not damage it) and hold both books in my hand and replicate what I saw myself. The detailed masterpieces that was in each square inch of illustration was amazing. I was unable to keep from wishing (slightly) that I could have been one of those monks, sitting and drawing such wonderous things. It almost makes me jealous.

I've always admired artist ability to render and create details in their art. Every time I try, I end up losing out on the big picture and the overall piece ends up laking something. But I can't ignore that some of the best work... the work that I want to put up on my walls... are the ones in which the artist thought hard and diligently on each pencil mark/brush stroke/ square inch of that piece. And I'll just keep plugging away at my attempts to not be ADHD like and move on to the next piece, just because this one has gotten tedious while trying to make it match as closely as possible to my mind.

The Devil IS in the details... because that is where he tries to make you loose focus and not finish your next greatest masterpiece. And God is there when you do.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Abbey Street: Sketch vs Snap.

When I go to Ireland I usually stay near a small village called Crusheen. The nearest actual town is Ennis. In Ennis they have a street aptly named Abbey Street, which always feels to me as the actual entrance to the town. Now the reason that it's called abbey St, is because at its base there is a ruined abbey that is... oh I don't know.... more than a couple hundred years old. Every other time i had gone there it was under "construction", making a welcome center to the ruins and such, so i could only see it through tall fences. This time i was finally able to walk the grounds (for a price of course!)

The funny thing was that for all my huff and puff of making sure I brought the camera from NY and got it a new awesome HUGE memory card, on this particular day I forgot it at home (back in Crusheen), and so I HAD to sketch.

Now I've read other sketch journals in which the artists say its better to draw the location they're at, to get a better feel/idea/memory of the place. And i've always thought that was a romantic way of looking at travel... You know back when going anyway required at least 2 weeks travel time on boat or train. when you went away it was usually for at least 2 months, and your family and friends had to cope with the very real possibility that you may never return, having caught some exotic illness.

But with my love of photography and all those new nifty digital cameras, I never really did. I lamented my camera's inability to shoot proper macro, as i fell in love with the intricacies of how the moss grows over the stone and the shadow the overlooking tree is making it pop. I would see my trips as a series of compositions with light, color and dimension/focus being played with, and "natural" posing with my friends and family.

All that being said.... I forgot the simple pleasure of perching myself up on a raggedy old rock (that should by modern logic just tumble off with the slightest pressure put on it), and trying to figure out how the place was constructed. Actually LOOK at the location, and not just its compositional elements, but see the overall shape, size, texture of the place. Really think about how time changed the color of the stones, wore away old inscriptions, and let nature reclaim most of it back.

I don't think I could ever be rid of my camera while traveling. But taking small moments and drawing what I see (usually in an uncomfortable position) and getting down a feel for the place (that try as i might i can't get with photographs), i think i have just discovered in myself. Viva the ability to draw!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Emerald Isle Bookends

So i'm bookending my trip in images. The first is the sunset as seen from above the clouds in the plane ride over there.

The second is the day of my birthday sitting outside enjoy some sun and sketching what i see.

I did some really great sketches while over there. Maybe not super detailed, but enjoyable to do, see, and show. I met really great artist also and had an over all good time.

Tomorrow images drawn quickly from Trinity college and the Book of Kells. Enjoy as always.