Monday, January 13, 2020

Watson on Sketching in Public

Ernest Watson, in his book The Art of Pencil Drawing, says "One has to become accustomed to a reasonable amount of attention from curious pedestrians."

Pennsylvania Station, Pittsburgh, pencil drawing by Ernest Watson

"You become a public entertainer as soon as you establish yourself in a public place. You have no right to privacy. You get used to this, in time, and should not be disturbed by respectful onlookers. When possible, seek a semi-secluded nook or at least a wall, against which you can sit and enjoy a degree of privacy.The famous Rialto in Venice is a very busy thoroughfare," he continues. "The artist is practically forced to seek a reasonably quiet spot out of the traffic flow. When I went to draw the Rialto, there was but one such place for a favored view of the bridge, and this spot seemed constantly occupied by other artists. I found it vacant after three or four visits to the place."
From The Art of Pencil Drawing by Ernest Watson


Roberto Quintana said...

"You become a public entertainer as soon as you establish yourself in a public place. “

This is very true of mural painting as well.
Not so much with really large pieces, where you are way above the crowd, but one-to-two story pieces, you are totally exposed in the public space.
Fortunately the wall does offer some protection, but still, its important to be ever vigilant, both for one’s own safety, and also for the safety of others. -RQ

Smurfswacker said...

I'm reminded of a story William Russell Flint told. He was in the Spanish countryside, painting a distant farmhouse. A little old woman appeared in a window, looked his way, and disappeared. A moment later she emerged from the house and trudged across the field to where Flint sat painting. When she finally reached him she looked at the canvas and said, "Mala [bad]." She turned without another word and trudged back home.