Wednesday, August 22, 2012

75 Day Sketch Challenge: Day 55

I recently took a few hours to visit the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh to see the Impressionism exhibit that's currently showing. It was wonderful, and I'm so glad I made the time to do it. When I stand in front of an original painting by Renoir or Monet or Cassatt, it's hard to believe I'm actually looking at a painting that I studied in art history class in college! Seeing them in person is a real eye-opener.

I took my time moving from one painting to the next, reading all the notes and commentary, savoring this rare chance to forget all the things clamoring for my attention and just soak up the beauty of the art.

What better way to remember my museum interlude than with a sketch? I plopped myself down on a couch, pulled out my pen and sketchbook, and surreptitiously began to draw a man studying a painting nearby (top left on the page). Since people in a gallery tend to stop, stand, and stare a lot, it wasn't too difficult to get a quick impression down on paper. When he moved, I just waited for him to assume a similar stance again, so I could finish my mini sketch. His head ended up looking a bit misplaced, but instead of fretting over what couldn't be changed, I began looking for my next victim, er, subject.

Drawing people directly in ink is kind of nerve-wracking for me, and my first sketch or two are usually the worst on a page. But things tend to improve as I relax and loosen up. This was the my second attempt that day...

I just realized I forgot to paint his hands!

Having so many people turn their backs on me made my job a lot easier!

I was surprised at how many people were there on a weekday afternoon; there was no shortage of subject matter. This was my sixth sketch  of the day...

I'm happy when I manage to capture something like the way the mom, above, leans toward her daughter.

As I headed out of the gallery and down the main hall, I spied this woman in a colorful maxi dress.

She was so engrossed in her phone that it was almost like having a paid model. She sat motionless (except for her texting fingers) the whole time I was sketching her.

It was such a fun day, and it made me vow to visit the museum more often. Maybe being in the presence of all that genius will begin to rub off on me. I can only hope!


  1. I can't be in a museum without sketching, it's a way of taking notes & of absorbing the stimulation. Like you, I also sketch people who are so much fun to watch while they are enjoying art (& being pretty still)! Perhaps I'll do a post with some of my museum sketches over the years...I'm glad you enjoyed it so much! Yes, go back when you can!

  2. I'd really enjoy seeing some of your museum sketches. I hope you will post them sometime. This is my first time to try it, and I still need to get over feeling self-conscious when I pull out pen and paper in a gallery. I guess I just need to do it more!

  3. I love these tiny peeks at people. You are so good at sketching them that I feel I recognize them. I just visited The Carnegie Museum in Covington, KY but never thougt to sketch the people there. They were having a colored pencil exhibit by some really excellent artists.

  4. Love this page, Leslie! It looks as if they could be just about anybody, anywhere USA. Love the gestures you've captured as well.

  5. Thanks for the nice comments, Laura and Katiejane.

    I always seem to worry a bit when I'm faced with drawing people, but then I end up loving the page I've done. I think I need to dive in and do this more often. After all, it's just paper, right? What's the worst that can happen?


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