The Art of Reading Newspapers -1-

What fascinates me in my (almost) daily sketching of people sitting at the cafes, is, as well as the artistic challenge, the opportunity to observe these people in such banal activities as drinking coffee, eating donuts, calling, smoking a cigarette, etc… It is incredible to see how many different, personal ways there are to hold a cup a coffee, a telephone, a cigarette… most of the time the whole body is even involved! Believe me, when you start at looking into the world with the curious, introspective eyes of a painter, you never get bored!

Today I will start a series of sketches about the art of reading newspaper. I have already published some in the past, but outside the theme, and will republish them in this category, but a little bit later in time, when you have already forgotten them. 🙂

Here are the ones I did today, by the beach. Please observe how the way of holding and reading the newspapers, and even the whole body attitude totally match to the faces, the hair style, the clothes and even the tattoos!

Old man reading newspaper

Young woman reading newspaper

Philosoph reading newspaper

Young man reading newspaper

8 Responses to “The Art of Reading Newspapers -1-”

  1. Michael Says:

    Curiosity is what comes to mind about your purpose in exploring this theme. Curiosity is the only true thing that matters in life. To be aware that what you are looking at are people and that is all you are doing. You do not name them not do you label them. This gets you into a ‘stillness’ where you can feel your breathing as you paint, and in my case when I write. If this ‘stillness’ and the ‘quiet mind’ are not present than I am thinking and I cannot do anything at all but the banal and the pathetic. I have to be curious and to see with a quiet mind in stillness to hear the words wanting to be born into the present moment. Destiny commands me to do this, but it is a sometimes easy and sometimes hard to do. But I know I will always do my best and never quit.

    This post is a reflection of the mirror you held up to me and I have responded.

    Wonderful feeling this here!!!!

  2. kevmoore Says:

    I feel very privileged to be able to follow this process Miki, from drinking coffee amongst your “subjects” to seeing them take shape on your pad, and being drenched with character and colour before taking their place on the world stage! Our intimate view of these people sat beneath the Sun, reminds me of the book by Desmond Morris, called “manwatching” which addressed, perahps for the first time in a major publication, those bizarre traits and foibles that define each and everybody’s uniqueness, perversely by highlighting the herd instinct!

  3. Susan Cornelis Says:

    Your sketches getmore and more entertaining with each day! good theme for a series. I will take on the challenge of paying attention to the newspaper reading/coffee drinking body language. Here in California you don’t get to see the cigarette smoking since it’s against the law to smoke inside buildings and we don’t have that many outdoor cafes. THe smokers huddle somewhere outside to practice their “dirty” habits. (we are very high and mighty about this)

  4. Miki Says:

    You don´t have many outdoor cafes in California? Then build some very fast, Susan, because Kevin and me we will need them when we´ll come next year! And anyway I need some American hands smoking for my series!
    And yes, I think it is a good idea with the series, and I will do some different related to different activities. Smoking will surely be one of them,it is great to watch how people hold cigarettes and smoke.

  5. mimulus Says:

    Hi, Miki! I loved the sketches you’ve made! There is a place in my city where you can sit for hours and observe people discreetly. I love going there alone. I believe in Europe you have many more places like that.
    Hugs from this side of Atlantic 🙂

  6. ivdanu Says:

    I see, miki, that you do the same thing en plein soleil as I did in the FastFood Pit, last year… catching the fleeting moment in watercolors! Great sketches! Of, how I wish to be in the sun, somewhere, with my watercolors and my sketchbook! (minus 8 today, in Sherbrooke, QuĂ©bec) Just drawing and drinking coffee… I like very much you capacity to work fast, sinthetical, to compose your small watercolors interestingly… But for that we, artists, need the stimulation of reality! Working from memory, the way Gauguin tried to impose to Vincent Van Gogh when he, the big pontif of Pont Aven visited Vincent in Arles, is (was) worst than prison! And the resulting painting are some of the worst Vincent ever did: that awful `Souvenir du jardin de Nuenen’ — I like doing an abstract piece, from time to time, just like you do, but there is something FRESH, something ALIVE in the small sketches we do after nature that beats them all! Vive la libertĂ© des artistes! (de peindre tout ce qu’ilsĂ©elles veulent, quand elles/ils le veulent!

  7. Miki Says:

    You are so right Danu! Drawings or paintings after nature , whatever the subject is (people, landscapes, flowers) are so much more alive and fresh! And I enjoy the process of doing it so much more than in my atelier! I totally agree that we ALL need the stimulation of reality, nature is THE ARTIST par excellence for me.
    It is the same with writing you know. when you want to describe a scene or a landscape or a dialog, if you take notes at the moment, you write about the interesting details… most of the time painting or writing from memory is too general, and not personal enough, it misses above all the spontaneity which is a kind of deeper truth…
    It is thanks to Susan and to you, thanks the people sketches you shared with us in Cafe Crem that I started again to sketch people in cafes, after a long long pause… I am extremely thankful to both of you to motivate me again! And I wished we could sit together at the cafe and draw sometime!

    How nice to see you again her, and how kind your comment is! Next time when you are sitting at your favourite cafe in the city look around if there is not a small blond lady hidden behind sunglasses drawing… it could me secretly drawing you! It would be such a fun, wouldn’t it? 🙂
    Like you I love observing people, and to draw them then makes the whole process so rich and fill fulling for me! These are great moments when I sit there in the sun in front of the sea, with Kevin reading a book close to me, we both drinking a wonderful creamy cafe au lait and eating mini donuts, and drawing! Have you ever tried to draw? If you love to observe, you have already the most important ability for an artist! The ability of the eyes is so much important than any artistic technique !
    We have in Europe in fact many places like that. But in Spain, in the real Spanish towns, with no tourism, there are not cafes with terraces outside. The Spaniards don’ t like to sit in the sun at all!
    Hugs to you too!

  8. mimulus Says:

    Hi, Miki! It’s always very pleasant visiting your blog with all those images. I love it.
    I’ll pay more attention around the next time I visit that cafe in the city :).

    Yes, Miki, in fact I draw, using pencil only, but sometimes I create abstract drawings and sometimes I draw based on a picture of people or animals that I like. I don’t have any technique and lately I haven’t had much time for that. But I enjoy it very much seeing somebody else’s creations.


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