Friday, January 8, 2010

A Brief Note on Today's Doodles

I don't usually feel much need of explanation for these little scribbles of mine, but today I find I've been drawing a number of elderly folk in the bookstore. No statement was intended, either about the subjects, the bookstore, or the folks found in independent bookstores generally these days. Honest. My eye is drawn to these folks by their posture, their costume, their faces, but my pencil takes them up because it hasn't the skill for faster subjects. Old people don't move so much; they sit, they settle in, they stand stock still long enough for even the amateur to have a go at putting them down on a scrap of paper. That's all there is to it, really. My hand is too slow for faster shoppers. And as I seem to see best in lines, rather than, say, colors or shapes, there frankly could not be a better object for passing study while I wait for a customer with a question to come to the information desk than a person, or specially a face... wonderfully, even lavishly individualized by time.

The woman in the first doodle posted tonight was wearing a rather marvelous knit hat, not unlike some great, green squash, from under which grew a plethora of airy gray curls. Her scarf, her down-vest, dotted with big buttons, the bulky coat and the marvelous hat, concealed all but a curve of soft chin, and a nose. Not so much as an eye was there visible to me. I drew the hat. The rest was required to explain it, somehow.

The tiny little lady in the next post I sketched on the fly, as she was not nearby, but I could not resist that arbitrary, and quite touching, storm of thin hair, and the curve of her.

Finally, the last two drawings are of a couple, reading at a table in the bookstore. As the table sits between the information desk and the buying desk for used books, I had the opportunity to sketch her, and then him, as I moved between the two desks whereat I spend most of my working day. Marvelous looking people! I have done neither justice. Were I a more accomplished artist, and had I time, and their permission, to study them, I would draw them together and try to capture something of the contentment they obviously felt in each other's company, quietly reading, without, so far as I heard, a word shared between them for a good long time. Such an enviable, happy stillness!

I describe all this, briefly, just to explain, should anyone seeing these scribbles of mine think it rude to draw people so much my senior so flippantly, that whatever amusement might be in these little bits of pencil and paper, I would hope I have also managed to convey, however hurriedly, and with so little art, something of the vivid interest and affection that provoked me to take the pencil from my apron and steal a minute here, and another there, just to capture some hint of the pleasure I had from these lovely people.

(And if -- by some extraordinary chance -- anyone looking here should see what might well be a familiar face, do please believe me, I meant no disrespect. I simply could not resist. Perhaps, if you find yourself here, I might ask you to sit for me properly some day? I promise to do my utmost, should I get the chance.)

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