Feb 21, 2017
How I Came to Sketch with a Pen
I have done sketching all my life; give me a pencil, eraser, and a sheet of paper, and I know what to do. Give me several kinds of pencils, and you better STAND BACK!
However, until I began to do plein air painting, my sketches were really more finished drawings, renderings. I saw drawing as an art form unto itself, and did thumbnails if I was painting, but not really even sketches.
That all changed on October 5, 2010.
That was the painting trip Brenda and I took, to Nags Head. We had painted around Jockey’s Ridge, and later did several paintings from Nags Head Pier.
After painting at Jockey’s Ridge that morning we had lunch, and then retired to the deck on the restaurant to sketch. I got out my small sketch book, with my pencil. Brenda was to my right, with her pens and watercolors. I was sketching the side of the pier, she was sketching the water, the waves. At some point I found that I needed an eraser, and I did not have one. I turned to Brenda to ask if she had one, and I was BLOWN AWAY by her painting. She had perfectly captured, in watercolor, the choppiness, the short, crisp waves, and all the colors. Oh, those colors! It was one on the best paintings I had ever seen. It took my breath away. I exclaimed over the piece, and at the same time, asked Brenda if she had an eraser.
(this has been in my sketchbook for a long time)
The next few seconds unfolded in slow moootttiiiiiioooonnnnn…
As Brenda turned to her right to look in her bag for an eraser, I continued to admire the painting. I must have blinked, because all of a sudden, it was gone. It was there, and then…It wasn’t there.
I don’t think I breathed for a few seconds, and then Brenda turned back to me, and she noticed the painting wasn't there.
“Where’s my painting?”
“I don’t know! It was there, and now, it’s not!”
“Well, where did it go?”
You can see, we were both in a state of denial as the truth dawned on us—the wind had picked it up and blown it away. Not in a gentle, pick up and float away breeze, but a now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t gust. It was there, and then it wasn’t. It was something you simple could not wrap your brain around.
We looked over the rail. Nothing. We looked to the beach to the left and right. Nothing. We scanned over the ocean. Nothing. We did it all again. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. We sighting further out, looking out for anything white floating on the water. Nothing. I even walked down off the pier and went underneath to see if it had been somehow ‘sucked’ underneath, like a wind undertow (fingers crossed). Nothing.
I had to go back up the pier and tell Brenda I couldn’t find it. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, because it was TOTALLY my fault.
Of course, Brenda was gracious, saying she could always make another one, no problem, please don’t worry about it. Because that’s what Brenda did. She made life easier for others.
But I never forgave myself, or forgot. Because there was never any way you could EVER recreate a painting like that, with that life, that energy, and that movement (not to mention color).
I had a pen with me. I got it out of my bag, and started drawing with it. And I never used a pencil again (except in museums, because some, like the VMFA only allow sketching with a pencil. No pens allowed. If they only knew how I hate it…).
My first three pen sketches:
I liked my sketches much better after that, and I liked SKETCHING much better, after that. You had to be bold, and assertive, and no apologies. You couldn’t fuss, and you had to forgive (yourself).
And Brenda? About six years later, she casually mentioned that painting, and the day it was lost forever. So it did matter to her after all, at least a little bit.
They are all our children.
Read about Brenda and I sketching her back yard view (scroll down to the bottom of the page)
Janet Clement says (Feb 22, 2017):
Not only are you an accomplished artist, Linda, but also an expressive writer. Thank you for bringing your painting adventures to life and for the continuing memories of how a friendship can grow, change and deepen.
Linda Hollett-Bazouzi says (Feb 22, 2017):
Thank you, Janet! I appreciate those heartfelt words. And I'm certainly glad to know people are reading my blog!
Lane Hiers says (Feb 22, 2017):
Thank you for the lesson. Following my appointment today I will purchase a set of pens and do as you suggested. The sacrifice made in your change should be sufficient. I have a few sketches in ink. It's true. I draw better.
Linda Hollett-Bazouzi says (Feb 22, 2017):
I'm glad this helped, Lane! Thanks for the feedback.