|Newport Door, 5 x 8" sketch by Tracy Feldman|
I admire people who can sketch in situ. They seem so relaxed and focused, not nervous about people looking over their shoulders. I am not one of those people most of the time. Not only am I kind of shy, but my sweet Arny is a guy on the go when we are traveling. And the truth be told, I too like seeing what is around the next corner (on foot or in my car) too much to want to sit a lot when we are in a place we know we won't be for long.
Thus, I take pictures to sketch when I get home (or to our room at night). Sketching still is a useful exercise to do because it works my drawing and composition skills and allows me to play with different media that I may be reluctant to try out in a "real" painting. Sketching also is a good spiritual exercise in that it is an act of being willing to let go of the illusion of perfection and embrace what is good and fun about working on paper that is too thin not to buckle some when wet, and too absorbent to feel as good as working on good watercolor paper. The edges tend to be softer, the colors are more difficult to lift, and it's harder to achieve the brilliancy I usually love.
All that being said, I like the energy and looseness of my sketches -- even if it sometimes takes me a while, and several layers of material to achieve the balance of looseness and detail/vibrancy I want.
For instance, to create these pieces, I started with a pencil to do a basic sketch, then added watercolor crayons, then marker, then regular watercolors, then white and walnut ink, and white gel pen in these pieces. So, like life, these "simple" sketches in reality have a pretty complicated back story.