Architecture seen through the hand and eye, moments of memory recorded, elements studied and filed away in my mind for inspiration: my sketchbooks are filled with these, some of which I share here.
As I’ve told my students before, worrying over the beauty of a sketch is not the point of sketching. I spent my first year in Rome afraid to draw. Afraid my sketches would not be as beautiful as my classmate’s. I looked, but without sketching I did not see.
Finally, one day, sitting on the steps of Santa Maria della Salute in Venice, gazing across the canal at the shimmering beauty of La Serenissima, I vowed I would sketch what my heart felt. But I didn’t have a pencil, only my Waterman, filled with my favorite Havana ink was in my pocket. It was daunting to think of sketching in pen, for I wouldn’t be able to erase. Putting pen to paper would require commitment.
That afternoon, realizing if I made a mistake, I couldn’t undo it, but would have to keep on and push through the drawing, looking, observing, and representing what I saw, feeling my way around the architecture and space, I finally learned to sketch. That day was the last day I was afraid to sketch. I learned the goal of sketching was not the pretty picture, but what I learned. Each of these moments is now a memory indelible in my mind.