Drawing in the woods

Sketch on location, September 25, 2020

I received four drawing pads yesterday. I ordered them online. It took longer than expected for them to arrive and two of six didn’t arrive. I am happy as I have nearly exhausted my paper supply. I also ordered and received a quart of Higgins waterproof ink. The pads that I received from Dick Blick are 12″ x 18″ and 14″ x 17″.

The above drawing is the first page of a twenty four page pad. The most difficult decision was picking a spot to draw. There are so many, where I live. I just walk out the door and in all directions are my favorite places to draw. Today, I let my intuition guide me until I have walked far enough. I set up with my make shift camera tripod, portable drawing table.

Being in the woods during an extraordinary fall day is special in itself. When I take a drawing pad with me, I find instant fulfillment. Feeling blessed to be experiencing the remarkable bounty of nature, inspiration is abundant. So, how does one come to terms with drawing in the complex woods?

I kept reminding myself that I cannot be too serious. I must follow my instincts while contemplating all the choices before me. What value, what brush, what to look at, what is calling my attention and what am I missing. With all these questions running though my head, I eventually settle down and slowly forget there are any questions and begin responding to the scene in front of me. As I move through time, I relax and try to make the sketch pad and the scene it represents related in some aspects.

Making the drawing look like the scene is just too big of a task. It is the beauty that I am responding to and bearing witness is my intent. I do this with black ink and white paper, a little water and some old brushes that could use replacing. This is all OK with me. Each brushstroke brings a different type of emotion. I often feel that I have wrecked the whole thing and suddenly it comes back and so it goes to a point where one just decides enough is enough.

I really enjoy making these woods drawings. Today, I took short breaks and wandered around a bit as the ink dried. I saw so many other places where I could set up, that were so inspiring. In my mind I played out how I would begin, what are the big shapes, how to organize the composition. But most of all, just looking, slowing down enough to be receptive to what is before me and being grateful for the opportunity to be in my favorite place, the woods, is always the most wonderful part.

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