|Savory Cafe & Bakery, Ventura California|
I still remember the first time I took a sketchbook into a restaurant AND used it. I was attending a workshop in Oaxaca, Mexico in 1998 and a group of us went to dinner together. We all took our sketchbooks and drew while we waited for dinner to be served. I found it to be such a liberating feeling! I now think nothing of it but still try to be sensitive to my companions. I don't want to appear disinterested in the chatter even though when I look at the sketch later I can perfectly recall the conversation as well as the speaker's voice. My family is indulgent and don't mind my idiosyncrasies.
In the sketch above, I drew part of the ample bakery counter and on the right, I drew my lunch. I ordered those french fries because they came in the stiff paper cone which was wonderful to draw. (OK, they were lovely to eat, too.) Last March I visited the cafe again and sat in just about the same spot. It was immediately apparent that the place had changed hands. Most of that sense was fueled by the change in the set up and feeling of the place. I wouldn't have been so aware had I not drawn it two years earlier.
|High Sierra Cafe, Lone Pine CA|
So, why sketch other than to hone your skills?
• It makes time scamper! I am a much more patient person if I can draw while I wait. When my children were in school, I drew on the backs of PTA agendas and paper menus as well as sketchbooks. I did dozens and dozens of drawings of coffee carafes, stryfoam cups, spoons, napkins etc. In airports, I sketch fellow travelers but always keep my dark glasses on...that way my staring at people is not so obvious.
• Your memories will be greatly enhanced. Drawings can evoke smells, conversations, and even emotions. In my sketch of he cafe, I know not only what my sandwich looked like but also what was in it.
|Hotel Colonial Dining Room, Puebla, Mexico|
For all of these reasons and more, artists prize their sketchbooks above their paintings. Because they are not meant for public view and sale, they are more personal. I am often asked if I sell my sketchbooks...the answer is always the same...nope.