Sketching live people, out and about doing their thing, has been a challenge I've generally shied from. Just too hard. My friend Ethna helped me rethink this a few months back when she told me she really enjoyed the challenge of capturing people in action quickly. It made me think if capturing a perfectly still building in 45 mins felt satisfying, how satisfying would it be to get a likeness of someone in 5 - 10 mins? But then on seeing her lovely sketches from cafes and the streets my nerve was gone again.
Then 2 weeks ago, Cesar aka Eclectic Box, an urban sketcher from Barcelona, launched the wonderful blog 'Portraits without Mercy'. A collaborative blog of posts by sketchers of sketchers, but with portraits "that voluntarily or not show a complete lack of kindness or affection towards the portrayed subject" (including self portraits). Very funny and very inspiring.
A sense of humour and ability to laugh at oneself is I'm guessing a strong prerequisite as subjects can return the complement of an unflattering portrait, with a responding post of the artist on the same blog. Ultimately though, the recognition that a likeness does not have to be pretty or attractive to have value or expression is great to see. The concept is liberating in itself. That someone has created a blog for just that purpose is fabulous. So on the beach yesterday, I gave away the idea of getting things just right and being hesitant, and instead just enjoyed the process.