February 26, 2011
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Ebert: How To Draw

Ebert: You can draw

Not long after that I found myself in London, and bought a Daler sketchbook and a drawing pen. This would have been in the art supplies store across the street from the English National Opera. I settled down in a nearby pub and began to sketch a glass, which is no more than an arrangement of ovals and lines. I continued to draw throughout the 1990s. I loved the British tradition of watercolor paintings and had already started to collect Edward Lear. At the famous Agnew's gallery on Bond Street, I was befriended by a cheerful woman named Gabriel Naughton, who told me I should buy some watercolor paints and try them for myself: “That will help you appreciate how good these artists are, and what they're up against.” I did, and they did. I realized in a practical, first-hand sense, with my own fingers, how precise and unforgiving watercolors are. Oils and acrylics can be repaired. Although you can daub up some watercolor with a tissue, you are essentially painting in the moment, and trying to get it as right as you can.