Drawing Challenge #Day 20

Ooooh! I haven’t posted a blog for a couple of months. In my defense, I’ve mentally written at least ten to twelve posts, including one listing all my excuses for not posting a blog for so long. It’s weird that even though I love writing, how often I can find excuses for not actually settling down to write.

Completing the Drawing Challenge has also long been in my ‘To Do’ list too. I was down to the last two challenges. Well, I completed the penultimate some time back and by making a post out of it now, I am hereby killing two birds with a stone.

Day 20 of the 21 Day Drawing Challenge was to do a live drawing. We were supposed to visit a public place (a park, coffee shop, or marketplace) and simply draw what we observed. This is intended to speed up our drawing without getting bogged down in the details. As people and things don’t stay in one place (or one pose) for long, we needed to capture them quickly, using gesture drawing. This is a really quick type of drawing, where you just loosely position things and do a rough sketch to get the proportion down. The idea is to capture the essence of a pose. You can later fill in details using your imagination.

This challenge was actually challenging for several non-intended reasons. Even though we have started venturing out to parks and shops, it is all still in masks. Most of the time, we just quickly complete what we had set out for and don’t linger anywhere, certainly not long enough to observe and draw anyone, who is in an equal hurry to reach wherever they are going.

Of course, I would also have felt a bit awkward about drawing in public. So I thought I would do a live drawing sitting comfortably at home. But this did not turn out to be as simple as I had thought. Finding a suitable subject was tough. My husband staring intently into his laptop watching snake and pet videos to which he is addicted and my son equally glued to his laptop playing games, did not seem ‘live’ enough for this challenge. Then, I tried drawing my mom chopping veggies, but the proportions came out too wonky. Finally, I found the right subject.

A dove had made a nest in the wiring of our AC unit extension in the balcony. Since it looked precarious and hazardous, we shifted the nest with as is into a plastic bowl and placed it on a cement divider separating our two balconies. The mumma dove flew away during this operation, leaving the two young squabs gawking at us in shock (or so we imagined, they were too young to move I guess). We placed a carton weighed down with some stuff as a wall in front of the nest. We were a bit worried whether the mumma dove would be able to spot the nest behind the carton. Thankfully, she did and returned after a while.

A few days later, it struck me that this was the ideal subject for my drawing – live but static enough for me to be able to capture them. Unfortunately, every time I drew near, the mumma bird would fly away flapping her wings. I didn’t want to traumatize the young ones when they were alone so I kept my distance and waited. Then I think I forgot about the challenge for a few days till the stronger and fatter one of the two young ones flew away. The mumma bird too, after giving what seemed like a lecture to the feebler one to hurry up and make a move, gave up and returned to the nest less and less frequently. I realized it was now or never. I had to capture the ‘live’ scene before the delicate one too flew away. Still I let a day or two pass. Then I saw the young one sitting on the edge of the plastic bowl, trying to gather up its courage. I rushed for my sketchbook and started my live drawing.

Luckily for me, the young one took its time making up its mind – to fly or not to fly. So I was able to capture the pose successfully.

I realize, of course, that a more dramatic drawing would have been of the exact moment when it finally took the leap, but I’m happy with what I got. I do need to work on my live drawing skills a lot. Hopefully, I would then be able to capture more active moments.

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Published by Leena T Pandey

I have been reading voraciously since the age of five when I first discovered the joys of reading. I would lap up anything in print. Unrolling an emptied newspaper cone with one hand, stuffing roasted peanuts in my mouth with the other, all the while devouring the printed content on the cone with my eyes, was one of my first experiences in hedonistic pleasure. In fact, sometimes I feel that I am on an adventurous journey through the secret dreamworld of other people's imaginations, interspersed with occasional visits to my own life to attend events like graduation, first job, marriage, and so on. As a true-blue reader, I think I am uniquely qualified to comment on and critique other people's works of labour. I can tell exactly what puts the average reader to sleep, what sets their pulse racing, and what has them salivating for more. Write to me at leenatpandey@gmail.com.

4 thoughts on “Drawing Challenge #Day 20

  1. We also witnessed the first-fly moment of a baby bird. Our balcony was her practice ground and mama bird was giving her lessons. We were glued to the balcony window 🪟😍

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