By Andy Weddington
Saturday, 09 June 2018
Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises. Samuel Butler
Studied men do not jump to conclusions.
For things are not always what they appear to be.
This week has been a busy one in the neighborhood. A handful of families, in receipt of orders, are packing up household goods and moving on to new posts and stations.
Thursday during my daily walkabout a couple of moving vans, for their line, caught my eye. Without delay I went home to grab sketchbook and graphite.
At just the right angle and under the sufficient shade of massive trees on the premises, I set about to draw - trucks; fall of light; and men working.
The busy men noted my out-of-their-way presence but did not pause from work to speak to me.
The next morning the plan was to draw not trucks and working men but one of the historic quarters - 16.
There was a big truck in front of 15 loading that home's furnishings.
Fifteen minutes into drawing, the driver - noting what I was doing - said, "Those guys yesterday thought you were evaluating them. They asked if I'd ever seen you before and I told them no. They said, 'every time we came out of the house with a load he was writing something down. He was there less than an hour and left.'"
The driver laughed and laughed. Me too. And I said, "Please don't tell them."
Still chuckling, the driver went back to work.
A few hours later I returned to the Thursday premises but due to insufficient shade drew from the opposite side (which was sufficient).
Not as conspicuous, in shade and aside a huge tree trunk, the men did not notice me for a good while. When finally they did it was clear they still assumed I was an evaluator.
I said nothing (though logical conclusion was based on insufficient premises) to dispel their conclusion.
I was out to draw from life, to observe and draw - to conclude with hasty sketches of trucks and figures. Nothing wrong with that.
The workmen observed me on the premises and came to draw hasty and wrong conclusions as to why I was present. There's a lot wrong with that.
Studied men know things are not always what they appear to be.
Studied men observe and draw - sketches and conclusions; based on sufficient information while dismissing insufficient premises.
Finally, in conclusion ...
As it turns out, Samuel Butler was not only a novelist but an artist. So he sketched life - in word and in line.
Surely Mr. Butler was a studied man.
[Note: Drawings, except 16, rendered in graphite on 10 x 10 in. heavy buff stock. 16 is 7 x 5 in. rendered in graphite on heavy white stock.]