I had a grand adventure this past weekend when I went into New York City to attend a class at The Inkpad taught by the wonderful Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. This is my second class with Julie, and I loved this one as much as and maybe more than the first. Julie is a great teacher–clear, supportive, and fun; and I needed all of that for this class, since the topic was outside my comfort zone. Sketching–pencil, pen, & watercolor–is just something that I have found daunting in the past. My inner critic leaps up at the first moment I even think about putting pencil to paper to draw something in front of me, shouting, You can’t draw! Don’t even try! Who do you think you are? So I knew I needed the encouragement and support of a gentle teacher and a safe classroom if I was going to get past my fears and start drawing more. And I knew Julie could be that teacher and that she would foster that kind of classroom environment. I was right, and I left feeling like, even though I have a lot of learning and growing and practicing ahead of me, I can do this.
After doing a few sketches of natural objects inside, Julie took us outside to do some on-location urban sketching. After tackling an acorn and a lemon, the scenes outside the classroom were pretty daunting but by then, the challenge was more exciting than frightening, and I was able to just dive in with only a little trepidation.
This was a pretty wonky building, and my sketch adds a little wonkiness that’s not in the original, but I was pretty pleased with my first attempt at such a thing.
Julie challenged us at the end of class to keep sketching, and I know that I’ll need to make it part of my life and art if I want to improve. I’m not sure at this point how that will look–a sketch a week? a daily sketch? I heard from a classmate about an artist who sketched his breakfast every day for a year or something; I’m not sure I’m up to that. But I will be thinking of how to incorporate sketching so I don’t lose the momentum Julie’s class gave me this weekend. With that in mind, I went out this morning to my back yard and gave it a whirl.
Hey! It’s recognizable. I’m good with that. And perhaps more important, I really enjoyed the process, start to finish, even the hard parts.