Is your biggest struggle finding something interesting to draw? Is your life boring? Is the place where you live dull and uninteresting?
I think we all have these thoughts from time to time. Yes, I know that my life has in many ways become very exciting, but like everyone else, most of my days are full of the same old grind. I live an ordinary life, chained to my computer, living in the heart of non-descript suburbia.
But you know what? It’s my life! And the everyday (boring) routine is unique to me right now. It was different five years ago and will be different in five years time.
I know I have said this before, but its worth repeating. The sketches of boring old daily life are often the most interesting to me to look back on!
So let’s apply that to a sketch subject that I suddenly realised has great potential: the view looking out the front of my parked car!
I often arrive a few minutes early to my destination and normally just sit in my car checking my phone. Why not do a quick sketch instead?
They are not the most exciting views, but for some reason, because they are a record of a real view that is part of my life, I am really enjoying looking back on them. My great friend and incredible watercolourist, Shari Blaukopf is perhaps the world’s expert in creating beautiful images from her mobile winter studio (her car).
It is amazing how much there is to draw if you look out of all the windows of your car, and if you are a little more strategic about where you park.
I sometimes drive around looking for a good spot to park with a good view, but what I am doing in this instance is just drawing whatever is directly in front of me. Squeezing a sketch into daily life and my busy schedule and forcing myself to record a scene that isn’t pretty or normally considered ‘worthy’ of sketching.
Over time I know my compositions will become more sophisticated, but right now I am realising what a fantastic subject matter this is for sharpening my sense of depth, foreshortening and perspective.
There is much to be learnt from using the parked car in front of you as a reference point for the vista down the street. Relating the distant objects to parts of the outline of the car is a great way to become more aware of our natural tendency to make distant objects much bigger than they appear in our particular view.
I looked through the archives, and this one was a particular nice memory, parking behind a weird coloured Porsche and reminding me of the many years I worked in Crows Nest.
But the view is not always boring! Sometimes, you just happen to get a car spot with a great view – Battery Point, Tasmania.
Other times it is a petrol (gas) station with a spectalcuar view and you can just park you car outside it. View of the hills on Harris (Scotland)
Or even better a completely deserted carpark surrounded by hills. I go out of my way to visit this carpark in Gowrie Park when I am in this part of Tasmania.
It doesn’t need to be fancy – a quick 5 minute sketch will do the trick!
And just to finish with another everyday scene. The back lanes in West Ryde where I park my car when I go to the gym are very uninspiring, but still I sketch them – testing out new ideas and tools all the time!
So do you ever sketch this type of view? Has this article inspired you to give it a go?
I would love to hear how you find it – and in particular if you enjoy the foreshortening and depth challenges for this type of scene. They truly are great training sketches for more complicated street scenes!