This week we are looking at creating a focus (finding a story) in order to strengthen our sketches. In the bonus material we are looking at local icons. So I thought for this article I would compare the stories of three different sketches from the most iconic location on the Isle of Lewis (where my sister lives) – Callanish standing stones
The reality is that I don’t always think about story before I start a sketch. I normally do, but not always! However, I do think about story towards the end of the sketch and I start focusing on what’s on the page, not what is in front of me. ‘What is my sketch saying to me?’ So I found three versions of the stones where I can’t remember what my intention was in terms of story. I thought it would be fun to explore what they ‘say’ to me now.
But before we look at the three sketches, here is another one which explains the configuration of the stones (sketched from a postcard) – it’s a cross with a circle in the middle.
This is an old sketch (from my baby sketching days) and I didn’t really think about ‘finding a story’ back then. I think it was off and on raining that day but dry at the time so I don’t have any memories of being rushed. What is interesting in this sketch is that I drew the inner circle and wanted to record the background hills. So that’s the message I am seeing in this version.
I was with my sister and 4 year old niece on this occasion so I didn’t have a lot of time. However we did sit down and ‘sketch together’ – her version of sketching was colouring in a Bob the Builder book.
So this sketch tells me a story about the cross of the stones and hints at the fact that the stones are on top of a hill.
The third time I sketched the stones I was with the full family (sis, brother in law, niece and 2 year old nephew) and basically I had no time to sketch (just a few minutes). I had set up my support board with my kit as we approached the stones and then just simply stopped at the first place with a reasonable view. So I didn’t capture any sense of the geometry of the stones in this version. I only had 3 minutes and it was very windy – it turned out to be a case of reflex sketching.
However this sketch reminds me of two things:
– I was doing the 30×30 direct watercolour challenge at the time
– My niece was confused as to the difference between these Callanish Stones and a cemetery. “The stones have names on them” she had said!
So this version for me is all about stones standing up in a grassy area and having fun with watercolour texture.
This exercise of re-visiting these sketches is making me look forward to having another go this year and creating a stronger story when I do!
So what do you think? What stories do these sketches tell you?