Thursday, December 3, 2015

Inviting questions about sketching in concerts

Does anyone have any questions about sketching in live concerts?


Mei-Yi Chun said...

When sketching at concerts, is your goal to create a finished piece or do you approach it as practice?

How do you handle fellow audience members who might be curious about what you're doing?

Do you have any methods to deal with conditions where your vantage point may be lacking (i.e. you're too far away, the view from where you're sitting does not lend itself for a good composition, etc.)?

Michael Dooney said...

are you using the available light in the room or using a reading light or something like that to illuminate your work. I can't imagine concert goers being too keen on any kind of artificial light even if you are creating cool art ;)

Jamie said...

Hey Mr Gurney,
I have a few questions. Is there a general form of etiquette that you follow when sketching at a concert and does this etiquette change depending on the environment of the concert? Personally I love to sketch and try to do as much as possible, however sometimes I wonder if there are times where it is not appropriate for me to be sketching. Yet at the same time isn't it an artists obligation to capture moments and emotions through the eyes of a human?

Frances Buckmaster said...

I am curious how you and others deal with the two things that have bothered me most: lack of light causing my inability to see my sketchbook page and the seating arrangements that cause my elbows to be 'pinned' to my sides. At the price of tickets, I can't imagine doing anything that would distract or disturb my seating-neighbors.

I have moved to isolated seats during an intermission, but the lighting was still pretty off-putting. So, for the present, if I want to sketch musicians, I would prefer getting permission to go to rehearsals, or, choose to go to a smaller, more casual venue. I imagine it might be possible to get permission to go to a local school's orchestra or other music group's practice. In the same vein, I've had better results sketching ballerina's at a dancing school than during either an amateur or professional stage performance.

Mitch said...

Have you cultivated any specific methods or practices to train your eye to work with such non-stationary subjects?

Your casual human and animal portraits are full of gems! It's obvious that creating them is a sub-passion of yours, among your general passion for art.

Katharine said...

I'd like to start doing drawing studies of people in public but all attempts at this in the past have left me frustrated, as those darned subjects move an awful lot! Do you have any strategies or suggestions on how to deal with the fact that people move? Do you like sketching at concerts because the musicians aren't moving too much? I'm sure you've addressed this topic in the past but a search on your site has come up empty for me.

Fabio said...

How do you handlebad lighting? Since plenty Opera Houses have low lights on the audience area.

Journeyman said...

A few years ago I started sketching at concerts but soon realised that I was not listen to the music or appreciate it properly so stoped sketching. Now I’m back to having tears rolling down my cheeks withe the intensity of the musical expression.

Corin said...

Hi James,

First, thank you for your very inspiring blog. Due to this, I'm currently following the adult education courses of the Beaux-Arts in Paris.

I went to a concert with the Berliner Philharmoniker in early November, I was totally unable to sketch.

So, I've got many questions:
- how do you manage the fact there is no table?
- how do you organize your material (on your seat, on the floor, in your pockets?)

- how do you manage your neighbours who might be disturbed by someone sketching (drawing might be noisy or you might make mouvements while everybody is quiet)?
- how do you manage the risk of noise?

- how do you choose your subject?
- how do you fix the position and the expression of your subject as he is moving?
- Normally, how long does it take to draw a portrait in concert?

All the best,


x said...

Hello James,

Do you just sit and sketch or do you ask permission beforehand from the orchestra organisation ? From the soloist/opera singer/conductor, generally speaking from guest musicians who might be famous and do not want anyone making money off their performance ?
Example: Once I organized a Live Model event with dancers. One dancer who made his living from dancing asked that the pictures I took and the work produced by the participants stay strickly in their portfolios and be not shown on social media with his identification. We were able to work out an arrangement that respected his privacy and copyrights.

Thank you for addressing this issue.

And another huge thank you for all you share on your blog. Truly yours is the best all over. I learn so much thanks to your amazing output.
Best regards

Capt Elaine Magliacane said...

How do you deal with it being dark, and how do you deal with not being close enough to actually see details. The sketch here has tons of detail, that someone not in the front row, or in the wings of the stage wouldn't be able to see.

Unknown said...

Do people look at you funny when you start sketching? Or ask you what your doing? I am don't like drawing to much attention to myself so would sketching at concerts be right for me?

Mark Martel said...

Many performers wish not to be recorded or photographed. Once at a national park a native demonstrator asked I not draw him and more importantly asked that I not sell what I'd already drawn. Do you sometimes get a vibe from performers that they wish you to stop?

Unknown said...

Hi James, the question I would like answered- would be:

When faced with subjects that move or limited time to capture a scene, such as Ruby the pony or a performer, what are some strategies you employ to simplify your process?

For example...
Correct me if I'm off on this but I noticed that you're more dedicated to your value structure than you are the colours in the scene. You'll sometimes choose a colour or temperature that gives you a mood you're shooting for, render the scene mostly in that hue and then add notes of colour where you feel it needs it.

This would give you the advantage of speed and at the same time ensure the scene is "readable" due to the values being true, create a desired feeling in the scene, and direct the viewer's eye accordingly using colour notes in specific areas.

Am I on the right track?

Thanks for the great Blog James, I tune in often.
Bryan Coombes

jytte said...

Dear James
I think there are two kind of emotions. One through the eyes and one through the ears. to want them both 100 pct at the same time is impossible. :o) Jytte

Tomas de Zarate said...

Too many good questions around here...
The other day I was in a piano concert and it was difficult to me to establish the right spatial relation ship between head, arms and piano.

Pierre Fontaine said...

Have you ever had any mishaps while sketching at a concert? Having materials on your lap (or on a platform of some sort) could create the potential of something falling.

Whenever I'm at a concert, I have to shift position every five minutes or so. Painting while at a concert must require being in a very comfortable position for a long time.

As others have said, I'm certain that the act of sketching and painting during a concert can be distracting for people around you as well. The lighting questions are also a concern for me as well.

Interesting questions that have already been brought up and a fascinating topic!

Bhavani said...

Hi James, firstly... I am huge fan of your work. You are one of the reasons why I started sketching in gouache and it has changed my life. I would love to be able to sketch in concerts because musicians are so inspiring. Few questions I have. 1)how do you light your work area 2)How do you deal with movements in positions of the people you are sketching 3) Do you use your easel setup or just paint on your lap? if on your lap how do you juggle your palette? do you have a water container or just use water brushes?
sorry if some of these questions are repeated.

Unknown said...

Like others have said, and after having tried doing studies of sets while sitting in Broadway productions, I frequently don't have enough light. I'm afraid it would be considered rude having a tiny light stand illuminating the work. How do you deal with this?