Here I thought I was taking a photography course, and now Kat’s got us drawing pictures. With pen or pencil and PAPER. This lesson in Find Your Eye: Journey of Fascination is about seeing by drawing. Drawing an object helps us see its shapes, lines, light and shadow, blocks of color. It helps us move past our preconceptions and see something in a new way. Then, hopefully, when we look at that object again through the viewfinder, we’ll be able to capture it in a new way.
I wandered around the house looking for an object to draw and hit upon a little ceramic mouse that sits on my dresser. I’ve had it for years and am very fond of it. It reminds me of my daughter, whom I called Mouse when she was little. As instructed in the lesson, I placed it in the center of the table and took three photos of it.
Then I sat down with paper and pen and began to sketch. (I decided to use a pen not because I am a great or confident artist, but to keep myself from getting obsessive about trying to make a perfect pencil drawing.) I drew four quick sketches, from front, back, and each side.
I haven’t drawn anything in a very long time, but as I proceeded, I found myself relaxing into the exercise and enjoying myself. The first one looked more like a salamander than a mouse, but by the time I finished the last one, I felt I had captured a bit of its little mousey spirit. (No, sorry, you don’t get to see them.)
The next step was to re-photograph the object, using the sketches for inspiration. Most of the new photos I took at the table weren’t much different from before the drawing, but I did take this one because I had drawn it and liked the angle:
This reminds me of the little creature in Robert Burns’ “Ode to a Field Mouse.” I like the simplicity of it, and that long curved shape from the nose to the wrapped-around tail.
I decided to try a different setting, and moved Little Moislie over to my desk, where the window faces northeast and gives a softer light. The desktop gave a nice reflected fill light, too, and I got several images I liked. This was my favorite:
Doesn’t she look at home there? Maybe I’ll let her stay for a while. She can help me edit my blog posts. Oh, I’ve just turned on the lamp and noticed it gives her some interesting shadows and modeling. There may be more posing in her future.
This was an interesting assignment. I don’t feel that I made a real breakthrough photographically, but I certainly did take a closer look at a small object that I usually take for granted. I can see how drawing could be a useful tool. Years ago, I used to carry a sketchbook with me everywhere. It would probably be a good practice to take up again.