Sunday, August 27, 2017

Drawing in public

Generally, people do all kinds of things in public space: eating, drinking, talking, kissing, goofing around, walking, sitting and watching others, using their phone, listening to music, reading books, playing games or making sports...

So why is it so hard to draw when being where others could see it!?

It might come down to the simple fact that we are aware on what we are doing...observing and taking it down as visual images. When someone uses a camera, everyone sees the camera right away, and knows 'oh, that one is taking a picture!'. But when someone keeps looking around and making few lines in a book or on a paper, and then staring at something intently again? It's not really so much different, but still, it gives off a different feeling, a kind of uncertainty remains. As if it is an invasion of the little private bubble we can maintain when in public.

Maybe if there were more people drawing in public, it would be a more common thing, and no one would bat an eye. But do they even care about it now? Probably not! There can always be people who look over your back to see what and how you are drawing, but my experience told me it is the minority. Most just pass by. Of course, if you are painting with a big easel or huge sketchpad it might be different - because everyone can see what you do!

To go out in groups to draw in public might make feel a lot more comfortable of course. But it doesn't really change that many artists don't feel so comfortable to draw in public alone because we tend to judge ourselves and our drawings  - just like the artists curse.

But there are ways to make it easier for ourselves...the more often you go out to draw in public, the easier it becomes, too. Taking a small A5 or A6 sketchbook for example might make you feel less 'on the platter' when drawing. It's also possible to go to places where people are usually busy doing there own things...the trains, in a restaurant (or at a class, haha). The more comfortable you can get, the more you benefit from it, for example to be able to draw images from moving animals and people!

As a personal experience that has put me off on it for a while, was the one and single time I have drawn publicly in India, near Krishna's butterball in was a public space no doubt, with many tourists, Indians and also school classes visiting. Not only did some keep trying to sell me postcards, but also almost everyone who passed by made comments about me drawing. And then, one school class full of boys passed by...and they were way too curious by it! They kept surrounding me and it was hard to shake them off again! In the end I just had the feeling of getting way too much attention, and had to 'flee'!
But it shows well that maybe the most important thing that is needed to draw in public is..... courage!

at Mahabalipuram

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