Friday, September 21, 2012

Waiting and sketching

I've had an eye problem all week that's meant lots of time in doctors' waiting rooms. Waiting is not something I do well, especially when my schedule is hectic as it has been lately.

However, sometimes it does give an opportunity to sketch and observe human interaction and behaviour.   Today I learned that men become babies in the face of illness and women wait it through stoically.   Now I know that is not always true form for everyone, but it was interesting to observe. Every male that came through the surgery sat, head supported in a hand at some point; slumped, sighed and twisted themselves into contortions in a chair, while the women sat and read, looked off into space thinking or chatted to their neighbour.

I know some people have a fear of sketching in public places, especially places with a doorway as the only means of escape!   I have never had anything but good response to sketching for those who are even aware that I am doing it.  I try to be an unobtrusive as possible with no huge sketchbooks and elaborate numbers of pens or pencils.  I carry one sketchbook in my bag or pocket and a pen or mechanical pencil, nothing more elaborate.  My sketchbook is usually hard covered and black, 5 x 7 perhaps.

I don't make eye contact with the individuals who I sketch, who are usually unaware that they are under scrutiny and if they look up, I move on to the next person, til they resume a position and I can finish a sketch.

In settings with lots of people, I may do full body sketches or just heads, scattered all over the page so there is no composition, just mark making.  Sizing is all over the place and all I'm interested in is fitting a face in a space.  After all, sketches are not designed to be a complete drawing, more of a snapshot of a moment in time.

So today, I sketched various people who passed through the waiting room, in various moods, most faces registering the boredom that can only come with overwaiting.


Sue Pownall said...

Firstly, I hope your eye is better now.

Second, great sketches and observations about men & women.

FYI here waiting areas are usually segregated if only by sitting on opposite sides of the room unlike Doha which had seperate rooms.

Jeanette said...

Its getting there Sue. Lots of meds and another trip to the specialist on Monday. More waiting, more sketching perhaps. :)

Interesting how different cultures segregate the sexes, who knows, perhaps it may be a wanted practice here at times. Sometimes I can see the benefits of it!

Katherine Thomas said...

This is a great post! I need to do more of what you do. Sometimes I carry a sketchbook, but mostly I don't and then I wish I had it. Your sketches are very VERY good! (I hope the doctor was able to help you after all that waiting!)

vivien said...

great sketches - it's about the only sketching I've been managing to do recently due to too many hospital visits.

Sue Pownall said...

@Katherine I always carry a small lightweight A6 sketchbook, like a notebook. 99% of days I don't use it, but I always have it if I want it. maybe you could try that?

RH Carpenter said...

I hope the eyes will be better soon. Great sketches - you captured the hangdog look of the men perfectly; perhaps they are even more miserable waiting because they feel they are missing work or other important men stuff! ha ha I admire you sketching in public - I've never been able to do it which means I'll never be able to do it until I get past that fear.

Jeanette said...

Thanks Katherine, my eye is improving, just sick of visiting doctors and specialists now.

A small sketchbook that doesn't take up much room is easy to leave in my bag or pocket, its standard for me now out of habit more than anything.

Waiting is tedious and wasteful isn't in Vivien. Thank god for sketching to pass the time.

I think its more than men don't do well with pain or illness Rhonda and women just deal with it and get on with life. My work day was screwed up waiting and likely will be again on Monday. I wish doctors kept appointment times, so frustrating!

You could sketch somewhere that's less populated to get a feel for it. In all honesty, people aren't interested in what you're doing usually and just go about their business. And if you adopt the right body language and choose where you sit, use iPod, etc you can easily keep them at bay. :)