Somehow, I got away from the habit of sketching in the morning. Not sure why, because it’s a wonderful way to start the day. Fresh cup of coffee, the sun room beckoning, silent except for the hum of the window a/c and the chatter of the birds in the yard.
White paper. A box of pencils, a stick of charcoal. An eraser – not to remove mistakes, but to deliver the shapes of shadows and hints of the darkness to come.
Now … what to sketch? Not fruit, though I really must do something about that lemon, forgotten from a still life painting over the 4th of July weekend. Something beckons from the window above the sink: Ganesh, the Hindu God of Good Fortune.
Ganesh, made of some sort of metal, has developed a wonderful patina over the years. And dust. Could probably use a good cleaning, but not today.
I put together a framework for a still life: a heavy bi-fold mirror that stands on its own, and if it fell over, would probably break something. I add a drape of muslin, to cover the surface of the mirror, and then Ganesh.
He looks a bit silly there, alone in a muslin sea. I lean forward and turn him sideways. Hmmm. No. A tilt, then? Yes.
And so we begin. Both of us starting over. Things look different from this angle.
In looking for a clean sheet of paper to capture the beauty of Ganesh, I find my notes from a drawing class: start with the general, not the specific. But this is a God, I want to say.
Oh for God’s sake, someone – Ganesh? The Muslin?- mutters, it’s just a morning sketch. Remember those? And so I begin.
Outline, squint. Mark. Squint. More marks. Stop and measure. Pencil in my left hand, arm out, point touching the air of A, thumb pressing against probable landing point of B. Make a notch with charcoal. Turn the pencils sideways. Repeat. Squint. Then angle from top of cap to end of tusk. Ear to ear. Keep going. Charcoal, fingertips, charcoal, eraser.
Ganesh hums in the background. Or maybe it’s the birds at the bird feeder. The world sails away.
Later, I put them together, the ‘real’ Ganesh and the pencil/charcoal sketch. Not bad, given that he was two feet away and set at an extreme angle. Go, team!
Have a lovely day, and may fortune smile upon you!