Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Paying Attention To Detail

I am definitely no Picasso.

You won’t be seeing the doodles or stick figures I've drawn in notebooks in some art museum 60 years from now.

For an assignment I was working on, I decided to try my hand at sketching. I attended an event at a museum in Miami Beach where the participants grabbed some paper, a pencil and an eraser and chose an item in an art exhibit to try and draw.

Here is a set of furniture from Italy during the time period between World War I and World War II that I decided chose:

And here is my ill-fated first stab at recreating it:

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. Wow, Joel, you’re a natural! I can’t tell the real thing from the sketch! 

Alright, maybe not  it's pretty bad! 

The art instructor who was leading the event then came over and gave me some pointers. He told me to start by drawing the line that separated the wall from the floor and then to draw the "general form" of the objects I was trying to sketch.

Instead of trying to draw each chair and table from scratch, he said, draw three cylinders of equal height next to each other and then work within them to sketch out the details of each object.

Here is my second attempt: 

Not a masterpiece, but for someone like me who hasn't really sketched something since middle school, a vast improvement.

I asked the art instructor afterwards why he chose a career in art and what he loved about it. 

“It helps me look at the world and interact with the world in a different way,” he told me.

What I love about art and creativity is that it forces us to slow down and stop for a minute in a world that is constantly moving and changing. It forces us to pay attention to the details of the world around us.

Don’t get so busy and caught up in the activities of life that you don’t stop every once in a while to enjoy the little things in life like a sunrise on the beach, a walk in the park, a musician playing on the side of the street — or even some furniture from the 1930s.

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