“When I was a student I didn’t know what to draw,” my teacher Juanita Greene Parks once told me. “I’d walk for miles and not find anything to draw…now, wherever I go I see pictures,” I knew where she was coming from. I remember what a struggle I used to have picking out my subject matter. Searching for the ultimate subject I would walk and drive around for hours often coming up empty handed and frustrated. Now, wherever I go I see pictures. Often I just need to stop moving. Just be still and look around with a sketch pad in my hand. Subject matter is often secondary. Just draw something I tell students…your shoes, a coffee cup a tree. If you can make an interesting composition chances are it will be a picture pleasing to the eye no matter the subject matter. (Click thumbnails to view larger images.)
The other night I found myself visiting my friends Eli and Amanda. They live in a quiet neighborhood in the small Erie Canal village of Middleport. After a pleasant dinner I had decided to walk out into the night and do some art. It was brutally cold outside. Single digits on the thermometer. Even though I was bundled up good the frigid cold hit me like a cold slap in the face when I opened the door to go outside. My plans to explore the neighborhood went out the door when I did. I decided to just stay put, all huddled up in their door way. Just be still. I looked out past the yard, through the trees and down the street. I liked the way a street light turned the blue snow yellow and silhouetted the trees. I composed the picture in my mind and then just started drawing. I drew fairly quickly knowing it was only a matter of time before I lost my battle with the cold.