The Fur Trade

Does this ever happen to you? You start a drawing (and this only applies when you draw with ink, not pencil) and realize that you made a big mistake that you can’t fix? When I was drawing The Fur Trade Museum in Lachine today I put the roof line too high. You can see it in the foliage, running parallel to the new roof line. It was really tempting to turn the page and start over but that would leave an unfinished sketch in my book (which I hate), so I decided to plod on, hoping that I could somehow disguise the line or hide it in the foliage. I’m happy I continued even though there was no way to mask that line. What would you have done?


53 Comments on “The Fur Trade”

  1. Nathalie says:

    Thanks Shari for sharing this now solved dilemma. I might have been tempted to add an electric line 😉 but find your solution way more elegant.

  2. Oh, I do it every second or third sketch. Usually I turn the page and then use it for fragments and small portraits or for training – like drawing parallel lines while sitting on a bus 🙂

    I love the way you draw the walls!

  3. captelaine says:

    If you had not mentioned it, I’d have never seen the line, I paint over bad ink lines all the time.

  4. JANET AGULNIK says:

    Hi Shari I’m enjoying your works very much. I teach drawing and watercolor painting in Ottawa, and your sketches are really great. As far as the one posted today, you did the right thing. The line doesn’t bother one at all, and when you’re sketching in ink, these things usually happen, but they get incorporated into the background. Keep up the good work!! Janet


    • Thanks so much Janet. Glad you enjoy the work.
      If you are ever in Montreal you should join us for our monthly Urban Sketchers outings. We have a great group and we’ve been going to some interesting places to draw, although I haven’t been able to attend the last few. We always love visiting sketchers.

  5. Judith Hanson says:

    IF I could paint as you do, I would’ve started over or called you for advice! Love your daily art in my inbox!

  6. Lyn Seley says:

    I agree with capt Elaine, I would have never noticed it……but of course your eye will probably continue to be drawn there. So I say look at the glass half full…the sketch has so many amazing qualities!

  7. Anna Cull says:

    I really like the sketch, Shari — line or no line. I was taught that if you draw a line in the ‘wrong’ place… simply draw another line : ) My ‘mistakes’ tend to free me from the pressure of having to do something ‘perfectly’ …and that’s always a good thing.

  8. bmweeks says:

    It’s nice to know I’m not the only one! I like Julia’s solution.
    It’s still a lovely drawing and “the line” works nicely with the windows on the right.

  9. Janet Dempsey says:

    It’s a beautiful sketch and like everyone has mentioned, I never notice the line as my eyes were drawn to the museum and the trees. I’m glad you didn’t start over!

    • Thanks so much Janet. Yes, as I replied to someone else who commented, it seemed like a big problem when I did it but now it seems to be quite hidden in the foliage and nowhere near as obvious as I thought.

  10. Kristine says:

    Pretend it’s a power line.

  11. John Bartoldus says:

    I would suggest you rip it out of your sketch book immediately and send it to me. John

  12. I like it as is. I also hate to leave the sketch unfinished and keep adding and thinking over and sometimes it gets better than I imagine. I, probably, will add white to green leaves, to cover the line, watercolor white or any acrylic.

  13. genine says:

    fantastic sketch Shari. I would’ve (and have) done the same as you. I look at the parts i like and try and think about how i was feeling when i was sketching. I can then usually look back and see the just good stuff. 🙂

  14. pegjuanita says:

    Shari, It’s a great sketch! – and most of us, would not have even noticed if you had not mentioned it! Next time, don’t tell us, and see how many write to ask if that “line belongs there.” Believe me, I understand about how we are always our own worst critics!

  15. pat says:

    I would have thought it was an antenna or powerline above the house. I really like how you did the stonework and other details, which totally draw the eye away from the unwanted line. Overcoming obstacles is an art in itself.

  16. Carol Koffler says:

    Shari – The drawing looks pretty good to me! I would never have known about the roof. Keep on trucking……. Carol Koffler

    Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2013 22:04:53 +0000 To:

  17. When art goes wrong, it’s really just taking on a life of its own. The beauty of sketching is that even though mistakes can and will be made, the final image still evokes memories so uniquely different than a photograph ever could. When I sketch buildings, I know that mistakes will be made, bit unless they are so outright obvious that a degree of believable accuracy is lost, I just soldier on and work toward the overall image.

    BTW, roofline aside, this is a beautiful sketch, and those lines running along the roof, the shingles on those rooftop window vestibules, and the stone work on the building’s facade are just incredible.

    • Jason, my favorite thing about posting my work is getting all these great comments, especially from this post. You are so right about the beauty of sketching and the memories that the sketches evoke. Thanks for writing.

  18. Ross says:

    I would probably have done the same as you… hidden it with darker tones on my drawing… except that it wouldn’t have happened to me because I would never do my first sketch in pen… not sure if that means you are confident or foolhardy… or just in a hurry all the time?

    • I don’t always go straight to pen but yes, time is a factor these days. I have had some great advice and comments in reply to this. I think most people seem to agree that soldiering on is the best way to go. Thanks for adding to the discussion Ross.

  19. Lee Kline says:

    It really is not a problem, but if I did it (and I do, often), I might have tried to invent a branch of that foreground tree that came down a bit in front of the roof line. But it may have made it worse. The thing about drawing for me is that I never learn anything from my “successes.” It is my mistakes that make me want to do better.

    • I thought about that solution Lee but I thought that it may have made it worse. You are so right about the successes and the failures. I guess that is why I draw every day. Because yesterday’s wasn’t quite right. I am reading a really interesting book now about Giacometti. Wow, that guy was really hard on himself. It’s called “A Giacometti Portrait” and it’s by James Lord. Have you read it? A small book but well worth reading for the process.

  20. Gail Katz says:

    magnificent as always-having studied architectual drawing long ago, I always admire the casual way that your sketches turn out-like there was barely an effort.

  21. sefeniak says:

    Glad you plodded along! I think I would have given up and turned the page or ripped it out. Try, try again…..

  22. Alison says:

    I agree, plod along. In fact , extend the line and add couple more to indicate power lines. Actually, it is hardly noticeable. Leaving it as is can be a reminder to start lower. 🙂 I like the treatment of the tree.

  23. Don McNulty says:

    Well, since you asked, Just draw another line and press on, never give up on a drawing, often the final result is surprisingly pleasing. Like I should be giving you advice.

  24. Same thing. I do it all the time. Your original roof line looks like a power line now, but it seems to disappear behind the tree….I would add on the edge of the image.

  25. There is nothing wrong with a ‘wrong’ line – it is just part of the progress. Best to accept it and allow the drawing to grow around it!

  26. Amy says:

    My husband walked by the computer and said, “That looks familiar.” We’ve never been to Lachine. However, we have a pen and ink of a cottage called Fontainbleu, maison forestier. I bought it in Barbizon France when I was 14. He was referring to the similarity in the architecture and style of the gables.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s