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Stealing a Moment to Sketch

October 18, 2008


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We all have a lot to accomplish each day. Sometimes it feels that every second of my day is scheduled. I have to keep moving or I'll fall behind with no wriggle room for catching up. I always have my journal with me because I know that there is always a moment I can "steal" from the rest of my day for sketching, if I have the journal with me.

This past Wednesday, after running errands, I pulled into the drive
way and was greeted by a sparrow sitting on the cut off trunk top of
our storm damaged maple. The bird, as most small birds do, seemed so
happy, so busy, so engaged. She brought my attention to the wonderful
leaf color of that tree. Even though I was in a rush to fit in a
bicycle ride, I reached into the back seat for my journal and got out
the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen I carry with me. The bird took off just as
I was ready to sketch her, but it didn't matter, because I was able to
capture the sense of her on that tree with a couple quick strokes of
the brush and some splashes of watercolor. (I carry a small kid's
palette filled with artist grade paints and a Niji brush.) It took less
than 3 minutes and tells me all I need to know about the moment.

I don't need to have a perfect rendering of the tree and all the
branches (it's just important to me that the cut off area and the
"wound" are there), and I don't need a portrait of that little bird.

Don't let the need to draw a perfect, or finished sketch keep you from enjoying some breathtaking moments of observation.

And was I behind schedule the rest of the day? Nope. The clouds parted, literally, and the sun came out for just one
hour. Long enough for me to take a quick bike ride and come back so
refreshed that I sped through my afternoon's work. All this, because I allowed a small bird to draw my attention to something beautiful; to remind me to slow down so that I could actually do everything I needed to do.

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