Where to Draw

by pamneely on October 19, 2010

When you first go out it would be unwise, obviously, to start by going straight to the most crowded place you can find, however attractive it is and however much you want to put down that particular place on paper.

I am referring to such places as a popular park, a famous landmark, a church or a public building. These places are invariably crowded and will put you right off your stroke. You will have to edge yourself gradually into the world, gaining confidence and experience as you go along. The shock of drawing outside for the first time can be severe if, when you first begin, you attract a crowd of critics and advisers which is what you will do if you are rash enough to choose a busy thoroughfare.


Everybody, as soon as they spot someone sketching, cannot keep their curiosity in check. They must have a look. I know I can’t help doing it myself, though I generally try to be as discreet as possible so as not to disturb the artist. But I get an eyeful nevertheless. It must be something we have in all of us – to overlook what someone else is doing. Look how a building site or a demolition crew attract a crowd. So much so that whenever a large building is being constructed nowadays, a special viewing balcony is fixed up for the sightseers.

When you begin drawing for the first time outdoors, the strain can be acute, not necessarily from the drawing point of view but from the fact that you are virtually on show and are performing in public. When working outdoors any shyness you may have is accentuated at first. To expose your work to all and sundry may put you off for a long time.

Most people, if they don’t draw or paint themselves are singularly unaware of their effect on an artist trying to work under unusual conditions. They will engage you in all sorts of idle chatter and they are quite unconcerned about interrupting you or of wasting your precious time. They will criticize and offer advice and give you a resume of their family history, invariably pointing out an uncle or relative who could sketch marvelously, meaning, of course, better than you.

This, of course, is an exaggeration. I have met some quite nice people who have looked over my shoulder and said a kind word or two and passed on. But, in the main, an artist working out of doors is the target for every bore, pundit and juvenile delinquent available. It would be much better to start off in some quiet field or back garden where the chances of being spotted are remote. In fact it is better anyway to start off near to home. You don’t want to trudge around for hours looking for a likely spot to start your experiments, tiring yourself out and getting sore feet into the bargain. Much better to stay nearer home and whenever
you are out and about on other business make notes of likely places you would like to draw or paint.

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