Window or no window?

Gretchen Ritchey, editor

Last week I talked about the recent Sketch Group meeting and the little girl I had been sketching.
Well, I don’t think I’ll have it ready for the MNB show next month, so the backup frog or flower it will be.
But, I have sketched the girl in more detail. But I’m complexed about whether to add a window or other object in the blank area. See them on Facebook page “Ink Pencils & Paint” and voice your opinion. There’s been some good comments on this page as well as my personal Facebook page about why or why not the window.
Someone did comment on the Ink Pencils & Paint page that they didn’t like the window but maybe a clock or something else would work.
In case you wondered, I didn’t draw this on my original. I made a few copies to sketch different ideas on what to put to give the little girl some balance.
To me she looked off balance, like you didn’t know where she was or what she was sitting on. Although there is shading under her, you still don’t know what she’s sitting on.
With that said, I’ll have to look at a clock on the wall or a lamp behind her to give it a glow when I decide to add color to it. My visions are always more elaborate than what my hands create.
The biggest hurdle was making her look like her.
Since I always want to work big and fast, I’m having a hard time with this. Sketches have never been my strong suit as far as doing one before going big. I’ve always jumped right in to the big stuff. I am, however, learning that doing a sketch prior to going big allows me to study my subject and decide just what I want to do, like a window or not.
While in college at University of Arkansas at Little Rock sketches weren’t done, regularly. In my acrylic painting class, we jumped right in head first into a big canvas painting. Class instructions were to lightly sketch what you wanted to paint in 15 minutes and begin painting. We generally finished a painting in a week, there was a lot of homework too.
Now Mr. Al Allen in watercolor class was a little different. We didn’t sketch at all. My first class with him was sketching by limiting the number of strokes made on the paper, 5, 10, 15 and so on. Yeah, I still have a lot of these paintings. For me stroke painting was fun. Sort of like a box of chocolates, you never know what’s inside until it open it up. Don’t get me wrong, if I was trying to make an image it would be very hard to make a cute puppy or horse in five strokes of paint.
In my second class with Allen, we painted still life. But still we didn’t sketch much, if any. I loved this class because we had the opportunity to be very expressive. He did not insist that we use a particular color of paint or style of painting. Everyone painted the same object but we all had different styles and art in the end.
My degree is in photography, so those classes were extensive. Painting was required and then just for fun and learning. My photography classes were a bit more extensive but still lots of fun. My most memorable class was going to the Oyster Bar in Little Rock on certain evenings to have a group critique of each other’s work. Critiques are very helpful. That’s the main reason I asked for input about the girl and the window. Critiques help not only artists but us as humans learn. We learn from out peers and how they see us and the world around us. But critiques should be constructive and helpful.
In my photography class we lined chairs up in a row and placed four photographs in the chairs and listened as others in the room explained why they liked or didn’t like something about classmates work. Critiques were done on an individual basis, the photographer was not allowed to explain their work — they could only listen.
Try listening to someone’s critique about you or something you’ve done. It may be hard to listen too but trust me, if you apply what that person said and try to make whatever it is better, then it’s worth it in the long run.
Going to the Sketch Group meeting last week has inspired me to continue to doing my art. I’ve been drawing something almost every day since. The feeling of being with other artists and learning and seeing what they make is a feeling that can’t be expressed in words.
The local Sketch Group will meet again on Thursday, April 19 at the Malvern-Hot Spring County Library from 5 to 7 p.m. Everyone is welcome to attend. Artists must supply their own sketching materials. For more information email or call (501) 317-9907.
Don’t forget to bring something you’d like to sketch, like a photo or object.

Gretchen Ritchey is the editor of the Malvern Daily Record. She can be reached at or (501) 337-7523.


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