‘Your imagination will never come up with anything more exciting than what’s in front of you.’
At last I’ve got on to my new sketchbook, the one that I’m going to use for trips around town. We’re heading for Leeds on the train so it’s ideal for trying out Una Stubbs’ approach to drawing surreptitiously in public places;
‘If I’m on a station platform and somebody walks past, I’ll try and remember what they look like and then, when I can, I sketch them. I love drawing old people. I’ve always loved old people and how one line can change a face.’
Una Stubbs is a presenter on The Big Painting Challenge, currently on BBC 1 on Sundays, and Lachlan Goudie, a painter, is one of the judges. I find the series quite inspiring and although it features non-professionals I find myself thinking why should they have all the fun?
I try memorising the people in the Costa Cafe at Wakefield Westgate. A list of details such as pin-striped grey suit, Hawaiian shirt and two-tone shoes isn’t enough in itself to conjure up the pose, body shape and character but, if I keep practicing, my visual memory for these subtler traits should improve.
This demonstration was about cuts in welfare benefits but my take on ‘Work isn’t working’ would be that if work always feels like a chore you should probably consider finding something else to do. Work takes up so much of your life.
The demonstrators were drawn from life from the vantage point of a department store window with a view up the Briggate pedestrian precinct. It was the first thing that I drew in the new sketchbook and I thought the slogan made a suitable aspiration; to be more relaxed and enjoy every drawing.
There are two kinds of buskers in Leeds; the ones that can belt it out but look rather ordinary . . .
. . . and the ones who look striking but still need a bit of musical training.
On the train back to Wakefield I had a chance to draw a man at the far end of the carriage from life rather memory. I realise that drawing from life is what works best for me but I’ll still keep trying to draw from memory.