Says Sid Charisse in "Brigadoon":
"Tommy! It's the end of our day!"
That is one of my favorite lines in one of my favorite movies. In case you've missed or forgotten the movie, Brigadoon is a little fictional town in Scotland which disappears into the mist each night when the people go to bed, and when they awake the next morning, a hundred years have passed.
Anyway, I was thoroughly enjoying the end of MY day last night. I stole a few minutes and grabbed a small sketch book and a charcoal pencil and headed to my backyard garden.
Sitting on the bench, I sat and looked around for inspiration. After my eyes took in all the recent growth that Thursday and Friday's rain helped to produce, I found the spot I wanted to draw. It was a common weed, the name of which I don't know, but very prolific here. I must have pulled up thousands in the past few years. This weed has a single stalk, and has lance-shaped, bright green leaves that grow in pairs. What hit me was how striking it looked in the waning light, thriving there, in front of an evergreen shrub.
(Keep in mind: the photo was taken this morning; much of the drama I saw last night must be imagined, as it didn't translate in the photograph.)
Photograph: (C) 2009 Jeanne Guerin-Daley
Shown here is a (morning) photo of what I drew last night.
In the twilight the evergreen was a mixture of very dark shadowy areas, with the growing tips being lighter green, but with not a lot of detail. In contrast, this lonely weed, stood there, in front, demanding (and getting) my attention. I'm always a sucker for the underdog, so this little sketch is mainly about celebrating the often-overlooked beauty of this simple weed.
The bright weed leaves against the darkness of the evergreen provided the contrast necessary for an interesting drawing. Using only a black charcoal pencil allowed me to simply concentrate on the composition, shapes and values, without dealing with color (of which, the later it got, there wasn't much anyway!)
I worked fast, because once the light started to wane, it disappeared fast. I tried to record the major lines, dark and light shapes, and some textures, before the light slipped away. Then I snuck in a little art time this morning in order to finish the sketch.
Image: (C) 2009 Jeanne Guerin-Daley
I invite you to share your opinions about this venture. How do
you think about drawing at "the end of our day"? Do you think
I'm nuts for even trying!? The appearance of things changes
so quickly when night comes. It can be quite a challenge to
capture scenes at this time of day/night. But hey, isn't that
how you get an exciting life, to look for, find, and accept