Friday, 4 September 2015
A turn up for the books...
You know every now and again I pick up my sketch pad and paints and wander off to do a sketch. Of course nine times out of ten my sketches end up in the bin, actually ten times out of ten almost. I rarely keep the sketches I do considering them not worth keeping. I must have thrown away hundreds of these things over the years, days and days of observation and painting into the trash simply because I wasn't immediately happy with the result. Usually they aren't very big, smaller than A5, so not a great loss really.
Occasionally though one survives, forgotten in one of my dozens of sketchbooks, left languishing away in some forgotten corner. This one did survive, I found it today in a sketchbook shoved between some cookery books on the cookery book shelf in the kitchen. It's a ten minute sketch of the stone jetty at Trevor in Wales. I painted it last summer I think.
It's not great. It's just a quick impression of the day, the ten minutes that I sat there with my paints splashing out the colour and trying to catch a fleeting likeness of what was there before me. It's hard sketching in the field. The wind blows the paper as you paint, the sand lands on its surface and sticks there, it never seems to go well and then, as I have already said, afterwards I find the nearest bin and drop it in.
Looking at this though I'm beginning to think that may have been a mistake. Although it's not a masterpiece it really does capture that single point in time, at least for me. I remember every moment, can see each boat on the water as it bobs, I can smell the seaweed, hear the gulls, taste the coffee that I was sipping at the time. It's a record of ten minutes of my life spent daubing a bit of paint on a piece of paper and looking hard - and it's the looking hard that is the thing rather than the painting.
Besides, it seems that they look so much better with a little distance between the painting and the looking again. I wonder if it's meant to be that way? I can't know can I? So many of them have been scattered to the winds. So my resolve is to try harder. Not with the painting, although I must do more of it, but with the urge to throw them away the minute that one is completed and then ridiculed to oblivion.
This isn't even one of my better ones. I've thrown away much better sketches than this. Why did I do that? I really don't know. In future I think that I will keep them all if only for me to look at them when I am far too old to even lift a brush. They may just remind me of a certain time, on a certain day and for a few moments I can be there again.