Thursday 28 August 2014


Apropos of yesterday's post, I went hunting for linen clothing today and found a short-sleeved khaki shirt in that fabric: four pounds, eighty-nine pence. It will serve me well in Italia, where B.A. and I are going in two weeks.

Collecting linen clothes is just one form of preparing for Italy. There is also the obligatory Italian language review, which I am doing at Edinburgh University this month. And then there is my brand new challenge: learning how to sketch.

My sketching inspiration is, of course, our friend Hilary, who constantly preaches that almost anyone can learn to draw, and for proof she presents her own drawings and paintings, the fruit not of "talent" but of hard work and endurance. Hilary continued to draw all through her cancer treatment; the woman was drawing in the hospital.  While I was staying with her, I caught the drawing bug long enough to doodle a tube of "dopopuntura" (cream for mosquito bites), a glass of water, a flying elephant and a yellow villa with sky blue shutters.

But that's it. I flip through my travel diaries in vain. Although I have been to many beautiful and/or solemn places since I drew that glamorous villa, I have not attempted to sketch them. This is really too bad, as sketches would most definitely improve my diaries.

So under Hilary's guidance I have begun to sketch. She gives me homework, and I am also reading Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards.  So far I have completed two "Hilary homeworks" and one Betty Edwards exercise. The first Hilary homework was to copy a black-and-white photo right side up, and the second was to copy the same photo upside down.  And I copied the first black-and-white photo I found, which was of our central staircase. And I discovered that I SAW more when I copied the photo upside down.
Drawn right side up.
Drawn upside down.

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