Monday, August 18, 2014

Wandering Wilbo Takes a Drawing Class and He Begins Walking Around with a Sketch Book.

Last winter, a local art gallery offered a drawing class, and it had a good price, ten dollars a session. The class won me over, and I only missed one session. The mystery of the class hooked me. The ten members of our class worked with a model each week, and the instructor gave us different instructions each week. One week he said, "Remember what is in front and what is in back". Next week, he said, "Draw the shape of the space around the object; avoid drawing the object". Next week, he ordered us to draw in two inch by two inch squares.

The class met afterwards in one of the finest bistros in Grand Haven, and we drank a few rounds and talked art, and the instructor talked long and well about art and began putting drinks on his tab. So the evenings we had drawing class also became my weekend fling. I got to know the class by drinking with them and by looking at their drawings. One fellow drank Malbec and he drew in a style that imitated a photograph. One woman drew only in charcoal and she drank hard apple cider. I sketched only in pen and I was reliably a drinker of Old Bastard from Founders Brewing Company. After one of these drinking sessions, the instructor challenged me to upload pictures to the internet. And I posted them to the internet, and people I knew and didn't know started to click like next to them. And that set off an impulse in me.

I began sketching my bartenders. I began sketching people I saw on the bus. I took a trip down to St. Louis, and I rode the subway end to end, sketching passengers and employees in their uniforms. I was starting to rack up copies of sketch books and I even started tearing out sketches and giving them away. I have yet to see one framed yet, even posted on the wall. I hope no one threw one away.

So I saw my instructor walking along Washington Boulevard last Friday night, and he had just closed down the restaurant where he had taken over head manager duties. He talked to us and shared his plan to paint through the night once he got home. The town has a city wide exhibit coming up in the first weeks of fall, and he encouraged me to enter. He even invited me to bring my collection of sketches by his gallery, offering to pick out which ones were worth framing and entering in the festival. Now I'm thinking of drawing all day Tuesday and Wednesday just to have a few great examples to show him.

It's enough to make a fellow think about taking up oil painting.

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