Saturday, February 4, 2017

Drawing the Bones of Bigelow House

Sketching the Bigelow House Museum

I’ve been an artist for as long as I can remember. I’ve filled countless sketchbooks and napkins and scraps of notebook paper with horses, superheroes, cartoons, and all the daily décor I see around me.

When I was fourteen my father told me that my sketch didn’t have any bones under the skin. I looked at the drawing and thought, “how can a drawing on paper have bones?”

I studied and understood that everything has bones…even houses.

I like to old sketch houses, I’m not sure why. Maybe, because they have such good bones.

Urban Sketch of the Bigelow House, Copyright Sara Light-Waller, 2017
I drove to Olympia today to sketch the Bigelow House Museum. The weather was cold and rainy, not unexpected for Washington in February. The house wasn’t open for tours today, and anyway, it was much too wet to sketch outside. So I sat in my car, across the narrow suburban street, and sketched.

The Bigelow House Museum in Olympia
It always surprises me how messy my sketches are. In the studio I could render this lovely old house exactly. But that’s not the point of urban sketching, is it? All the bent windows and off-kilter groundlines show that you really were there…drawing on your lap, braced against the car door with rain from the cracked-open window splattering onto your sketch and making the ink run.

And that's what makes it fun.

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