The Pencil and the Lens

My camera died on the 6th day of my travels in France. I’d never been there before and the loss of the camera hit me hard, especially since it broke on a Sunday when the stores were all closed. Of course they were. I soon learned there wouldn’t be a way to replace it until Tuesday because, at least in this area of SW France, stores are closed on Sunday and Monday. Of course they are.

Fortunately, I have a bit of artistic talent and, given enough time, could sketch some of the same things I would have photographed. So, I ditched the useless camera and went out with my sketchbook. The sky soon clouded over and soon it began to rain. Of course it did.

There’s nothing quite like trying to hold a sketchpad vertically to keep the paper dry while simultaneously attempting to keep your eyes on the scene you’re sketching. This means holding the paper below eye level. Along with the issue of holding a pencil at an awkward angle, it’s very hard to get a peek at the lines you just drew. The first sketch would have been more detailed, but my sketchpad showed signs of becoming a blotter and I had to run for cover in a nearby church. The second one is a bridge in the town where the camera was laid to rest. I believe the town’s name is Samur. Don’t ask me how to pronounce this, but probably ignore at least the last two letters.

Two days later, I bought a new camera. The instructions were in French. They don’t have multilingual product booklets in France. As the shop clerk said, “You are in France!” Couldn’t argue with that. Had to get some help from a hotel employee. Once I got the camera working–sort of–I could both photograph and sketch. What follows are some of each.

The next photo and sketch are of a wonderful old building located just down the road from Monet’s famous house.

This is one view of the old city of Carcasonne in SW France. The sketch was done somewhere inside… Pen lines were added later, not sure why I did that, but it’s too late now.

Mickey Hoffman is author of two Kendra Desola mystery novels, Deadly Traffic and School of Lies, published by Second Wind Publishing. See my website for more of my art. www.mickeyhoffman.com

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~ by mickeyhoffman on October 11, 2012.

3 Responses to “The Pencil and the Lens”

  1. Mickey, this is a super entertaining blog. My husband I are laughing like mad about the new camera’s instruction manual. How French! And there is an added something to the drawing–which is you. Set besideh the photos, it’s like looking at separated halves of the same face.

  2. How fortunate for me that your camera broke or I’d not been privleged to enjoy some more of your artwork. I like the sketches better. Reminds me it’s time to look at some of your etchings again.

  3. Happy to hear. I put a load of etchings up on my website under the obvious link on the left side. I’m still struggling with the camera, which fortunately has a “manual” setting when I become too frustrated with its tendency to accentuate things I’m trying to ignore. Hmmm, do humans have a manual setting?

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