|Self Portrait, 1979|
A skill you learn quickly when you draw from life is how to make it appear that you are not staring at people when you sketch them. One lady on an express bus actually did notice after the hour long ride into the city that I was drawing her and asked to see my sketch. Well! She did not enjoy seeing the double chin that I so gracefully added to the under curve of her rounded face. She proceeded to take out of her wallet a 'fat' picture that she saved for occasions such as this. She told me that she recently lost quite a bit of weight and could I please take away the double chin? I was never going to give her the sketch, so I congratulated her on her success and nodded to her request as we pulled into Port Authority. I draw what I see and the double chin stays!
When I sketch, I draw random people from life, family members (who are generally sleeping) or faces from photographs and magazines. Photos do not move much, or complain! The important thing is to draw. My dad used to keep with him all the time a small sketchbook and his black pilot marker. (Yikes! Drawing with a marker is like doing a crossword puzzle in ink!) We were stuck in traffic once because of an accident and my dad calmly gave up any hope of driving and took out his sketchpad to draw a dog that was hit in the accident. I'll never forget that moment.