Faced with the Duomo di SienaPosted: October 6, 2019
The Duomo di Siena is one of Italy’s most famous — and most ornate — architectural icons. One might wonder why, instead of choosing to draw its many alternating layers of black and white marble, or its carved sculptures, rose window or carved bronze door, I would choose instead to draw the souvenir kiosk in front of it. There are two answers to this.
The first answer is the practical one. This was a workshop demo in a busy place on a rainy day. I could see black clouds approaching, so drawing the church in pen or pencil, or even a small detail on it, would have eaten up all the demo time, leaving no time for adding colour. I needed a subject that would lend itself to a quick teaching moment about simplification and values.
The second answer is the more honest one. After spending years drawing urban scenes with no people in them, I find myself attracted more and more to life on the streets. I spent the first few years of my sketching life pretending that cities had no people in them. Static scenes are a lot easier to draw, plus I had no confidence in my people drawing skills. But with time, and practice (and many good workshops about people sketching from artists I admire), I realize that I would rather try to add figures, even if they are badly drawn, than have no people at all. Who knows, maybe one of these days I’ll even get up the courage to offer a workshop of my own in people sketching. Wouldn’t that be a hoot?