Tourists who visit city art museums in a day, taking pictures and moving on, may not fully appreciate the art within them, as this New York Times article laments. I suffer from this affliction as well. Well, perhaps “suffer” isn’t the best word – I’m quite comfortable in my low interest level in painted art.
Architecture, however, is different animals. Given the right conditions, I can see how spending a few hours observing a building could be interesting. Especially if it is active observation, as this paragraph from the article suggests.
Recently, I bought a couple of sketchbooks to draw with my 10-year-old in St. Peter’s and elsewhere around Rome, just for the fun of it, not because we’re any good, but to help us look more slowly and carefully at what we found. Crowds occasionally gathered around us as if we were doing something totally strange and novel, as opposed to something normal, which sketching used to be.
I would like to try this someday. As the paragraph suggests, not because I’d be “any good”, but rather to help absorb the building and its environment better. In middle school I would spend hours designing floorplans for houses on graph paper and doing perspective drawings. I contemplated a career in architecture, but the pull of computer science was too strong at the time.
My drawings may not be very good, but at least at the end I can pull out my DSLR and snap a photo before walking away…