Sketching What’s Handy

potato sketch

Dinner May Be a Little Late...

 It’s a grey Monday in May in Oregon, and energy and inspiration are in short supply after a busy weekend and a dismal workday.  So it is that I turn to the mundane:  There’s a potato, an orange, and three bananas in the basket on the dining table.  The potato wins, although I’m not sure why.  Sketching what’s handy is a quick and easy way to find the next subject for a daily sketch, but it can tend to delay dinner when it turns out you’re sketching one of the potatoes that was scheduled to go in the oven half an hour ago!

Potatoes are homely, misshapen, relatively colorless lumps.  It’s hard to make a composition with one potato.  It’s hard to find much color in a potato.  There’s just not a lot good to say about a potato as a model or a subject.  Yet, I love potatoes – mashed, fried, baked.  And as it turns out, the surface is intriguing: eyes, gouges, bulges, dirt, scabs, sprouts, splits, bruises.  In their own subtle way, they are visually satisfying, a tactile adventure.  And best of all, it’s hard for any critic to say, “You didn’t get that shape or proportion quite right…” – because how could you ever tell?!

This is a combination of colored pencil, a watercolor wash, and more colored pencil over the top of the watercolor.