Monday Motivator: Building Visual Vocabulary

“Sketching from life definitely builds my visual vocabulary, which helps when I’m trying to conjure a fantasy world from thin air. I often dig into my sketchbooks for poses, rock formations, trees, landscape effects, or other details. That’s one of the reasons I like to draw everything.

“… I don’t place any boundaries between a sketch and a finish, or between a drawing and a painting. I like the word “study” because it implies a more carefully observant and patient mindset, but a work done as a study from life can have the power and detail of a finished work as well.”

James Gurney, interview on Citizen Sketcher


The times when real life falls into the “if I painted that no-one would believe it” category, when nature plays with colour, pattern, and expectations, are magical.

2 Replies to “Monday Motivator: Building Visual Vocabulary”

  1. Amazing cloud pics, Marion! If you painted the first one, I wouldn’t believe it was from life 🙂

    1. I think of some of the cloudscapes we get as “I live in a Rothko painting” (one of his stripey ‘liquorice allsort’ abstracts).

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