Monday, January 7, 2013

#51 The Sierra Club Guide to Sketching in Nature

The Sierra Club Guide to Sketching in NatureThe Sierra Club Guide to Sketching in Nature by Cathy Ann Johnson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another place to look if you're interested in sketching in nature. Not the best book on the subject (I still like How to Keep a Naturalist's Notebook by Susan Leigh Tomlinson best).

The most useful parts are toward the beginning when she talks about tools and materials and then the three pencil tricks.

There seem to be a couple of different approaches to writing about drawing: 1) you can say well, art is ephemeral, ethereal, unspeakable, bla, bla, let me try to put it into words; or 2) you can say well, I can't really tell you what art is really about, but I can tell you this nifty little trick. Oh, and here's another little trick, and another...

Books that I've read on the subject do both some of 1 and some of 2. The 1 stuff just isn't useful really. To paraphrase Wittgenstein (PRETENTIOUSNESS ALERT!) what we can't say we should pass over in silence. The 2 stuff (the little tricks) isn't what art is really about. But it's those tricks that help me do some sketching without getting totally frustrated and then I can experience the unspeakable, ethereal, bla, bla, bla, that it's all suppose to be about.

Johnson in this book has substantial doses of both 1 and 2. Worth picking up.

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