Thursday, December 13, 2012

Holiday Sketches

Hi everyone!
Carol Sloan here again with the rest of the Christmas Marionette Show tale (or maybe “tell” would be correct) (as in “show & tell”).

Myself and two sketching buddies (Denise & Sarah) went to a marionette show at a local library last week.
The show was put on by the ColumbiaMarionette Theater (about 2 hours from where I live). 
John Scollon was the puppeteer (and Executive Director btw) and he did a fantastic job bringing the story to life as well as keeping the young kids entertained (not to mention the older generation!).
Those kids were so well behaved! 
I think that they were so involved in the show that they didn't have time to get cranky or bored.

I wonder if any of them left with a lifelong love of puppets and marionettes?
As adults, care givers or parents, isn't it our job to expose the younger generation to all things creative?
Someone has to light that spark or at least allow for the opportunity of a spark.
It is up to us to keep the creative spirit alive and well in this world.

(stepping off of soapbox)

I'm not used to sketching in a fast paced environment. 
My sketches will show that but the good news is that I can improve on that with more exposure to it, right?
I'm not trying to pen a realistic rendition of my subject but to impart the spirit of the scene, of the day.
You will see that some of the sketches are incomplete. My subject fled the scene (literally) before I could complete even the barest of outlines.
My approach to putting pen to paper that day was pretty simple – I tried to get a good look at the subject, then jot down a simple outline first. As time and opportunity allowed, I filled in as many details as I could while the marionette was running around the room.

I was especially interested in the placement of the strings on the puppet and the paddle that the puppeteer used to create the movements (I don't know the correct name of that piece of equipment) but things moved so quickly that I couldn't figure it out.
I'm going to call what I did the use of “artistic license” but I am sure that it goes much farther than that!
(remember it is all about the “spirit of the scene”, isn't it?)

The plot of the show was incredible! It included Spangler (the top elf) (lol, great name for a reality show, eh?), The Big Guy (Santa), an elf with a very bad cold (and a blue face), an ice skater with a finely feathered outfit, a puppet show within the puppet show and even a beach hotel clerk!

Here are the pages from my sketchbook that I completed (or almost completed).

The backdrop was a prop built of wood and then painted.
I think the candy canes were plastic ones.
The backdrop also served as the container that all the marionettes
and equipment was stored in. Clever, huh?

That's Spangler at the top (left) of the page.
I loved sketching the kids that were watching.
The many shades of blond in this young man's hair was incredible.

There's John, the giver of life to this cast of characters.
Another spectator with rich blond hair.
And that paddle thing...

The puppet show, John's hand and The Big Guy.
I thought that Santa wore black gloves though. This Santa had
on green gloves.

The star of the show, pretending to be Santa.
I looked at a photo to draw this one.

I mentioned that the backdrop also served as the box
for packing up the set. The marionettes were hung inside, facing the back
of the box. It looked like they were all in "time out" even though I thought
they behaved very well. But who knows what they did once the spotlight was
off of them. They could be little divas behind those smiling faces... 

So, following the December theme that Pam chose of “gifts”, I'll close with this:

My friends and I gave each other that day as a gift.
A gift of our time, our laughter and of grand memories.
All having its roots in the love and desire to sketch our surrounding...we found each other in a sea of people.
And you can do the same thing where ever you live! Put the word out there on your Facebook page, a local art list or gallery list.

Give yourself a gift this year. 
The gift of opening yourself up to sketching, drawing or some type of creative pursuit. It will truly enrich your life.

I hope that you all are having a wonderful holiday season – however you may celebrate it, do it with an open heart.


  1. Wonderful, lively drawings. You did a great job showing the children as they watched intently.

    1. Thank you Shirley! They were rapt in their attention.

  2. what fun! You have captured the event well. It is quite easy to imagine it.
    Sandy in the UK

    1. Thank you Sandy! I really enjoyed the show. John was a master!

  3. Reading this was almost as much fun as it sounds like you had! What a cheerful, colorful, well illustrated gift. xoox

    1. Jill - if you lived here, you would definitely be in our sketching group! Thank you for the gracious review.

  4. Twas an honor to be your inspiration! John Scollon CMT

    1. John - You and your merry band of characters were the inspiration of the day. Thank you for entertaining the crowd!


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