Saturday, January 26, 2008

BECOMING AN ARTIST


or...What am I doing sitting on this pile of trash in an empty city lot?

It was a Thursday morning around 9 AM, sometime in the spring-summer of the mid 1970s, a time when I should have been attending Medical Grand Rounds at the hospital. This was a weekly presentation by the medical residents of interesting case reports to the rest of the house staff and attending physicians. It was, and perhaps still is, a weekly ritual, one that I had been attending faithfully for the past 6 years.

So what was I doing sitting on a stack of empty mattresses in the middle of an empty city lot? I was drawing the back of a row of dilapidated houses, entranced by the texture and shapes of the scene before me. I was in the process of discovering the artist that had been tucked away somewhere deep within, a process that would take about 4-5 years. To say it was pure pleasure would be less than true; guilt and insecurity where right beside me on that mattress. My lines of thought went something like this; “what am I thinking, sitting out here when I should be at Grand Rounds? This is ridiculous, thinking that I am an artist, or could become one. All I can do is draw small sketches with this Parker 45 fountain pen, shit, I can’t even paint!” And on and on, you can get the point.

But, guilt and insecutity were not enough to pull me away, and I found myself spending more Thursday mornings in the city streets with my sketch book than in medical grand rounds. I carried a small canvas shoulder bag holding my sketch book, papers, pencils, and always, my faithful Parker 45. Within a few years of that experience I began cutting back on my office hours to create more time for my art.

5 comments:

Villager said...

I am a sucker for ink sketches, and this one is beauty, understated. Here is a thought - I do this with all my ink drawings:
1) I leave the original sketch alone except for scanning it.
2) I print the sketch on heavy stock paper and then I apply watercolor washes. The first sketch may be sepia, the second may be multi-color, the third may be blue, burgundy or whatever.

This way, I get multiple images from one sketch. Call me lazy...

William F. Renzulli said...

Village, not lazy, just smart!
This is a re-do of the original sketch and was scanned from my book, Willam Renzulli Celebates Wilmington, published in 1985. I'm not sure where the original is. Unlike the first sketch, it was done with a pilot ultra fine point permanent marker which has become my sketch pen of choice.

W. J. St. Christopher said...

William, sometimes we hear the call, and sometimes we answer the call.

Looks like you've chosen to answer -- at least twice!

Good for you!

Your work is lovely. You're doing great stuff with colors and light.

Terry Banderas said...

Nice work. Ink drawings always get my attention. I too will scan a drawing that I like. I print onto watercolor paper then do the washes. I try to keep an image of all my line work.

JafaBrit's Art said...

It is always interesting to read how art finds us and what inspired it :)

Seeing beauty even in the most mundane and translating that is truly a blessing.