When I feel like it, I sketch. Often times though, even when I brought along my sketch book, set of pencils and pens anywhere, I had to have a certain mood to really want to sketch. Sometimes my hand was already tired from doing a lot of chores, that even when I set my heart to sketch, my hand seemed abstaining from doing anything. So I might ended up sitting somewhere with my sketch book open and blank page. But when those moments came, I could sit for the longest time to sketch. Who would want to care for the dirty dishes or unprepared meal anyway? (Wink).
These are three of my latest sketches and I intent to make as many as I can and create a sketch journal. But I know my limit and my mood, unfortunately. I did my first sketch after my kids, their friends from the music camp and their teachers had a picnic. I cooked some fried rice for them and the picnic went so well and everybody was happy. A friend of mine who also a mother of a student at the camp, and her daughter, and I kept on picnicking under the shadow of some trees at Yale Cross Campus after everybody else went back to their activity. We had a wonderful time chatting and after my friend and her daughter left, I did my sketch. My object was the building of Calhoun College. A few months back, there was a protest wanting the school (Yale) to replace the name of Calhoun College due to the character behind the name, John C. Calhoun, who was a statesman who believed in slavery. Calhoun was a former US vice president.
The sketch book that I use now is my second sketch book. It’s thinner and smaller than the first one that’s already full. The book has red cover. I fell in love with it when I saw it at the arts & craft store. I did my second sketch during our visit to the beach. We live quite near the beach and I promised my younger daughter and son to go to the beach when the weather became cooler one late afternoon. Summer has been crazy for us with several days of heat wave. So while my kids kept themselves busy by playing frisbee and walking to a small island that we could only reach when it was low tide, I sketched. Basically, I was left alone minding my own business. My sketch object was part of the Bradley Point that has several big trees with benches under them.
When one day I took my younger daughter along to find a “good place” to sketch, I told her to bring a book. At first, she was bored, but then she sat nicely reading her book and watching the people who passed by us. We chatted and laughed at some people who looked silly or did something awkward. We were sitting on a stone bench near Sterling Library at Yale Campus. The weather was fine that day. I decided to sketch the Harkness Hall because I wanted to learn again about drawing perspective. It’s been a while since I sketch or draw something in perspective. My skill kinda dull at the moment. By the way, I chose sepia colored pens to sketch because it reminds me of old photographs. I sure hope I will continue to sketch more and create another journal to share.
When I was about 8, I knew a new word of “an architect”. I was curious of the meaning and my mom told me an architect is a person whose work is to design a building. I said to my self,”Wow! To design a building?” Since then if someone asked me what I wanted to become when I’m older, I would say,”I wanted to become an architect”. But unfortunately, I’m not really into formulas in math or physics, whereas those two are needed to study architecture. Oh well, I’m more leaning towards the art of the design itself, rather than building a structure. I enjoy looking at a building in details and feasted all the nooks and crannies of it to my heart content. I become a fan of an architecture study. I learn about the style of a building, which era it was designed and how the custom and art background from the architect influenced it. My amazement at an architecture of a building sometimes implemented in the photos I took wherever I go, but lately I wanted to draw it rather than take some pictures of it. That’s what I did and I want to do it more often, if I have plenty of time to absorb all the details that I see from a certain building.
I drew the first sketch during my son’s ensemble class. The class is on the 3rd floor of the music school where our kids have been studying for years. The big window in the class overlooks an old building that I could see from where I sat. It was Fall and the scenery was beautiful with the falling leaves on the ground and the leafless trees. The building itself is one of a landmark building in New Haven, Connecticut. Its called the Kingsley & Havenmeyer House that was built in 1850. Then weeks after that (I drew other images instead meanwhile), I sketched one of the building at Yale University campus. My object was a building called the Street Hall that was built in 1864. The red stones that becomes a significant of the building looks contrast comparing to other buildings that over all are in grey. While drawing the Street Hall, my son and I were having lunch at Panera Bread across the building. My son became restless, because he didn’t want me to finish my sketch. So I asked him to join me drawing whatever things he saw. Sure did, it worked! That became our first drawing session. Then another chance came to sketch another building, when I took my son to Yale-British Art Gallery. From the huge window on the 3rd floor gallery, I could see the street below and Yale Art Gallery across the street. We decided to sit before the window. My son and I were actually enjoying our second drawing session with some chats and jokes. I added more details at home as much as I could with the help of some pictures I took with my cellphone. I was ecstatic with the image of the bridge that connected the Old Yale Art Gallery with the Street Hall. Nowadays, I can’t wait for another time to just sit and sketch somewhere, admiring a building as an artwork, as of admiring a painting. An architect is somewhat an artist too.
The Kingsley & Havenmeyer House, circa 1850 seen from the 3rd floor of Neighborhood Music School
Street Hall – Corner of Chapel St. & High St., Yale Campus, circa 1864
The bridge of the Olde Yale Art Gallery to Street Hall over High St., circa 1928
Phoebe is Phoebe Baron, one among the many talented violin teachers at the music school where my children go to. She led an annual event two Saturdays ago, called Fiddle Fest. My son was participating in the event, who was one of 3 young musicians who joined the senior and more established musicians. While waiting and enjoying the music, I took out my sketch book and began to look for an object to draw. Then I thought, Phoebe would be the perfect object. So I drew her, while she was conducting and playing her violin so actively. It was pretty smooth and quick process. I showed the sketch to her and others after I was done. I even asked her for an autograph as a stamp of approval. She said,”You made me skinny.”
As the school semester has started once again, so does any activity involving the kids. My Saturdays are now about music ensembles and lessons. Room 301 where the music ensemble that my son has, is my usual place on Saturday morning. Waiting for 45 minutes could be a boredom if you don’t have any interesting to do. Some parent worked on their laptop, some tried to entertain their younger kid, and me, I sketched. Two weeks ago I sketched an Eastern Hemlock tree that is in the corner of room 301, together with other indoor plants. This tree is already reaching the ceiling! Then last week I sketched another plant, the Begonia in its pot. I felt relaxed doing the sketches. My mind was at ease.
There’s an old church that stands near our house. Its aging red bricks are showing, but they don’t seem to decrease the church grandiosity, which the cornerstone was placed in 1903. The street where we live is where the town’s old buildings located, some that were built in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s. Sometimes when I walked by Saint Lawrence Church, I would stand for a while to look at its details. It’s always interesting to view a little closer at one structure that still looks strong and stand out, even though it’s been through more than a centennial of changes. One day at a laundromat across the church that I visit regularly, I thought I might as well use my time with drawing while waiting for my load to finish. I chose the old church as my object out of curiosity whether I could translate my perception of this historical building unto paper. This is it.
What would be the perfect way to welcome the May Day? I decided to sit around in the backyard and look at one of the tulip bulb. The morning of May 1st was extraordinary pretty and warm. I was sun bathing while sitting on the grass, tried to sketch a tulip. The would be dark-purple-almost-black tulips, are almost blooming and I’m so excited. This is the first time I’m planting tulips, so you can imagine my excitement to see that they are actually growing.When the tulips were just emerging, an animal, perhaps a squirrel, gnawed several of the young leaves, living behind ugly views. As the tulips grow tall, the leaves are a reminder how they survive. I felt really peaceful sketching in the backyard. I’m planning to draw more picture of the tulip as it blooms.
My sketch of one of the tulip bulb.
The boy on my drawing is my son. Every Saturday he practices with his ensemble class. For three Saturdays now, I’ve been drawing his fellow musicians in his class and apparently my son wanted me to draw him too. This is it, a boy who plays a recorder.