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Nature Art: Drawing on Scrap Paper - Explore

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Nature Art: Drawing on Scrap Paper

Do you need a sketchbook in order to draw? I'm here to tell you that you don't. When I don't have a sketchbook handy, I draw on the paper I can find. My scrap-paper drawings are rough, just moments in time. As I draw, I push myself to go quickly and focus on the essence of the scene. I say to myself, "This is just a tiny piece of paper! Go, go, go!"

When I draw people on scrap paper, I try to capture their overall body position before they move; I know I won't be able to catch their faces. I did all of the drawings for this blog post in five minutes or less and the model always moved before I was finished. Last week, at the theater, I was thrilled to see that the back cover of my program was blank...and I drew during both 10-minute intermissions. The paper had a slightly bumpy texture, perfect for the colored pencil I added when I got home:


Over the weekend I came back from a hike with two of my favorite leaves. I put them beside me on the front seat of the car; I had a pen. But my sketchbook wasn't there. I found this old envelope under a flashlight in the glove box. It was getting dark fast, but I managed to get the shapes of the gingko and the chestnut oak leaves:


I wasn't sure if I should be drawing during a lull in a bar-mitzvah service, but the architectural detail of the setting was so beautiful that I couldn't help myself. I drew on the back of the program but I hid my drawings under the prayerbook when anyone glanced my way:



Here in Washington, D.C., the National Gallery of Art is showing the paintings of Arcimboldo through early January 2011. You may know his work; he is the Renaissance artist who painted portraits, composite heads really, made entirely of fruit, flowers, or fish. His best surrealistic people have peaches for cheeks and peas-in-the-pod for teeth. As he aged, he used less fruit and more gnarled tree branches and trunks to portray his people, and his portraits become less charming and more disturbing.

The program itself for the Arcimboldo show had a wonderful, wide top margin that I pressed into use last night as I waited for my daughter's lesson to end. The paper was glossy, and I could simply wipe off the colored pencil to show the light from the overhead lamp:


If you do try drawing on scraps of paper, you'll soon discover paper that you prefer! I like the tooth of envelopes, and I love the laid pattern in the theater program.

-- Sue Fierston

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