Running off the page? Two approaches using Michelangelo and my niece's kitchen

November 20, 2014 | 5 Comments

The last two weeks have made me realise once again how much I love blogging and how important it has become to me as a crucial part of my creative journey. I have only missed a few days but the regular routine of blogging has stopped while I get the SketchingNow course into a manageable weekly pattern. Blogging regularly helps with my sketching – so much internal dialogue happens whenever I sketch, that now it seems incomplete if I don’t sit down and write about. The act of writing down my thoughts is primarily for my own benefit – but it is a great privilege to be able to share these thoughts with others as well. We can read a little more about why blogging is so important to me here.

I am blown away that so many people have wanted to do my SketchingNow course and at this amazing opportunity to be able to share more with a larger group. It is also extremely satisfying to get back into a weekly class routine – I have taught a lot of the content before but converting into a online sharable format means that I have to re-cut it and refine it. I LOVE this process – my brain thrives on this search to find the clearest way to explain important visual concepts. It is a heavy weekly workload that I have committed to but manageable and I just hope that I can keep up my blogging as well, because in a strange way it has become ‘me-time’.

Well, that turned out to be a long preamble, didn’t it? To get on with business…

A few weeks ago I did this sketch of one of the Capitoline Palaces in Rome by Michelangelo as my Friday night wind-down sketch. I normally sketch architecture with a very structured approach – beginning with the overall arrangement and then defining the parts. However on this occasion I just started at the top and worked down. I realised very quickly that I would have trouble fitting the whole building in… so I paused and considered my options.  Panic!, or crop the building, or just squeeze the proportions and hope for the best. I did the last option and, if I hadn’t ‘fessed up, most of you would not have known. Of course Liz the architect feels awful about destroying Michelango’s harmonic proportions – hmm… Mich liked distortion and bending the rules himself so maybe he would be ok with what I have done!

The day after I was at my niece’s 3rd birthday party and wanted to sketch her big present – a kitchen (for her cubby house). It was always going to be a challenge with lots of little ones around but I took advantage of a quiet moment while it was sitting unused in the middle of the living room. The pressure was on – I was fully aware of potential interruptions from little children but I didn’t realise that my dad was packing the kitchen up to relocate it to the cubby house. The kitchen was about to move!

Anyway, the long and short of it was that I made the same error in judgement as I had done the day before ie. I drew the top half too big. However this time I tried a fourth option – simply drawing a new line (or two) calming in a correct position. The original lines are still very noticeable but that doesn’t bother me.

In the end I WAS interrupted by a little one checking what I was doing while I was painting so I left this sketch in its incomplete and decidedly loose state. Splashy paint everywhere – ah! it records the moment well!

So what do you think of my choices of how to get out of my sketching dramas?


  • Sue Pownall says:

    Great choices. Mine usually just fall off the bottom or get squidged.

  • Your choices are magnificent, Liz. I always love hearing your thoughts too. It seems your days are always so full!

  • jaguarish says:

    I know what you mean about blogging — I have felt compelled recently to write at least a paragraph on each sketch I post. It really feels like it's part of the process for me. I'm still sorting out how to combine my sketching and writing, long term. At present I juggle multiple writing journals and sketchbooks with a fair amount of crossover among them, which annoys me (I'm really of a minimalist mindset) and frustratingly, I haven't yet struck the right balance.

    As for running off the page! Happens to me constantly. I do agree with redrawing lines if needed and the color will trick the eye into seeing the new reality. 🙂

  • pam says:

    I think you did an amazing job of "instantly reacting and coping". So easy to think one's sketch is a failure because of incorrect proportions and toss it aside or glue something over top"…my bail out …
    We just have to learn to be there in the now and work with it…successfully, as you showed!

  • Janice says:

    You made the perfect choice for each sketching "predicament" and I love the results. This is just one of the many reasons I am so thrilled to be taking your Sketching Now class;)

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