As promised, I kept a sketchbook when I was traveling in Europe.  I approached it with the same trepidation I always do when I’m sketching or painting.  I still felt like I was going to get it “wrong” (whatever that really means.)  But, I pushed.  I made sure I set aside time for just sitting, so the doer in me would unpack my supplies, open the sketchbook and go for it.  I would sketch out of a desire to be productive if nothing else!

One sketching session that was particularly special was doing a couple of charcoal studies of Bruno Cordati’s work in Barga, Italy.  I was very inspired by the way he posed people, captured emotion and light, and his line work.  I felt like I could learn a lot simply by copying one of his works.

When I was alone in our workshop room, I pulled out my sketchbook and charcoals and began copying a simple sketch of a woman on her knees, clutching her chest.  Perhaps she was praying, pleading?  Crying?  Or just fell to her knees in relief?  It ended up being my favorite sketches of the trip and the experience was just as rewarding as the result.

I had a bit more time in the room, so I work on another one…

Anytime you study someone’s work, you not only learn new techniques, but you learn a little bit about the artist and how they see the world.  You can learn how they handled their materials.  In some cases, you can see their literal fingerprints.

I’m glad that I didn’t let fear and critical thoughts rob me as they have often done in the past.  I’m glad I took that time to sketch, to learn, and to be present in that beautiful place among the work of a talented artist.