Today I decided to take the plunge and begin working on what could be the final painting of the stormy sky in Evansville (which is only a working title). With that in mind, I took my 18" x 24" watercolor paper to class.
Once I arrived I took out my supplies and found I had to start by taking the wrapping off the block of paper, then remove the protective cover over the paper itself which required a sharp blade, and then I could begin to think about where I wanted to place the main element of the composition and begin to draw.
Drawing takes time that I prefer to do at home since I think it can be a waste of teachable moments. "Can be" is not "always is" as I discovered yet again today. In the beginning I very carefully plotted where I wanted things to be; I even borrowed a long metal ruler from Sharon (I had forgotten mine) so I could make tic marks (okay, so I can be anal at times) where necessary. Once that measurement compulsion was satisfied, I could begin to draw so I did.
It went well. I've looked at my photos so many times for several years, and we've visited the site frequently since the pictures were taken. I have an understanding of the building's perspective, but as it turned out I hadn't considered its mass. When the drawing (very light and "bare-bones") was almost finished, I took a moment to back off and take a look.
Oops! The building was smack in the middle of the darn paper despite my little tic marks to which I obviously paid not one whit of attention! Well, with rueful chagrin I showed my work to Sharon, and she said, "But it's in the middle!" Helpful comment, right? No. She knew and was laughing with me because she knew I was aware of having made a real mess of my carefully constructed plans.
So I turned back to the drawing trying to figure out how to deal with it when Sharon said, "Just draw a line down the paper!" It took me a moment or two to understand what she meant until she said, "I mean draw an actual line down the side of the paper [making a wide margin], and the building won't be in the middle any more!"