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SKETCHBOOK: a creative tool and a way of life that celebrates design and drawing as vital ways to see and value culture, to discover ideas, and to envision a better world.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Draw One True Thing

This is a life-sized bronze of Ernest Hemingway that sits in the author's favorite corner of The Floridita bar in Havana, where he regularly held court with visiting writers, actors and other colorful characters.  The bronze was created by Cuban artist Jose Villa Soberon.  The sketch was for my "Hemingway's Cuba" exhibition at the Nobel Prize-winning author's home near Havana in 2015.

Writing about a recent journey, I kept reminding myself to keep the narrative along the lines of a traveler's personal journal, rather than yet another guidebook.  What did I see, what happened, what do I think about it?  That's all I can really speak to with any sense of authenticity.

Hemingway said, "All you have to do is write one true sentence.  Write the truest sentence that you know."

Interesting...the same could be said of sketching a place, person or any other subject. "Draw one true thing." That would help shortcut cliches and lazy stylistic ruts, perhaps, and encourage one to really look at something. What do you see?  It would also lead towards selecting media and tools that are best suited to capturing that one true thing.

Of course, there is no objective "truth" that isn't shaped, in part, by who is looking at it and the lifetime of experiences and baggage they bring to it.  If two artists are looking at exactly the same scene, and if they both seriously aim to say one true thing, their resulting images will almost certainly be very different, reflecting how their eye and mind shape the truth they see.

So, I'll apply that lens to the next sketch outing.  Draw one true thing.  Draw the truest picture that you know.  Is anything else really worth the time?

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