The lonely lifeguard

However many kids there are at our community swimming pool, I still think the lifeguards, high up in their chairs, look lonely. There’s action all around them, but they don’t participate in the fun. Their job, instead, is to stay uninvolved in what goes on around them and to watch carefully.

So when I sketched this lifeguard, I decided to leave the pool and surroundings unpeopled to capture that sense of aloneness.

In this first sketch, I drew in the surroundings quite slowly and carefully.lonley_lifeguard1

And then in this second, quicker sketch, I went for a more minimalistic approach by suspending the lifeguard at the top of the sketch with a more abstract representation of the blue pool below and a large empty space between the two.

Do you think one of these is more successful than the other? Which one and why? I’d love your opinion.

About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
This entry was posted in california, Close to home, san jose, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to The lonely lifeguard

  1. ruthbyrn says:

    I like the first sketch better because it is more interesting: more going on; more possibilities for the imagination to work with; also hints about the weather, with the deep sky and the little flag-banners in the breeze — makes me think rain might be coming, makes me think what the breeze might feel like against the skin up there in that chair under that umbrella.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think both of them capture that ‘aloneness’ very successfully, Suhita, but for preference your fantastic observation skills evident in the figure on the second one give it some extra oomph, perhaps?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The first sketch is excellent, less emotive. The second sketch you capture the feeling of sitting all day, alone… These are very good watercolors!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pete says:

    Hi Suhita, I do like the looseness of the second sketch but I prefer the first one which I think portrays the loneliness of the lifeguard in the empty pool more clearly. The second sketch also has him apparently contentedly absorbed in a book. I love the line of bunting streaming in the breeze and leading you in to the scene.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Annie says:

    The second sketch draws me in for its strength, its emotion, its simplicity that still states your purpose, your feeling, I think. And I wish I could do that ( working on it, and thanks for asking my opinion!).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sue says:

    The second sketch is more evocative, more blurred lines that your brain needs to decode. The first sketch seems more like a visual narrative of the place. Love the bunting tho!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. lise says:

    Hello! I prefer the second one … the first it seems too much compressed … more free in the second … Have great time! Lise

    Liked by 1 person

  8. 28pwilson says:

    I prefer the first painting. The viewer is more engaged in the scene for several key elements. The banner clearly shows a breeze, which you can ‘feel’. The lifeguard has more of a sense of being up high, solitary on his perch. The dark green in the umbrella hovers over the center of interest, pointing to him. The details in the upper body are unnecessary, and gives emphasis to his loneliness. Fun to study the two and pick a favorite!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Soni says:

    They both say your goal beautifully but the first one has it all – locale, job, loneliness & yet on duty (even sans crowd) is well explained in a great composition. It’s gloriously topped off with that great sky that emphasizes & showcases your statement. Inspires me to do deeper thinking for my sketching. Love colors as always.


  10. gippyhenry7 says:

    I just love this! Your work makes me smile every single time. Although, I have to admit that it makes me sad also that I never could sketch and paint like you. As a visual fine artist all of my adult life, my paintings (I’m told) are like photographs. I did do commissioned portraits for many years which didn’t help. I so wish I had taken up illustrating years ago. But, I don’t really think I can go loose with my painting style. I have tried. It must be an insecurity type issue I suppose. Kudos again to you on this one! Keep them coming please.


  11. I prefer the first one; more going on; love seeing the surroundings; makes the lifeguard seem even more alone.


  12. bmweeks says:

    Great sketches! They both capture the feeling of alone to me, just in different ways. The first one shows the empty space around him, which to me is the physically alone. The second one leaves much to the imagination. There could be a crowded beach or pool at the foot of his tower. This tells the mental or emotional loneliness of the job. Love them both.


  13. I would say that the first one looks lonely – he’s further away, there’s a greater sense of space – and the second one looks alone – he’s watching and enjoying his thoughts. It’s an interesting pairing. I’m glad you posted them.


  14. Wilma says:

    I like the second sketch much better for its looseness. First one looks too colored in rather than painted …


  15. Shobha says:

    Since I’m obsessed with details I love the first sketch; it also conveys the sense of isolation in his “ivory” tower. For fast n loose, the second one is great.


  16. Ann Sisel says:

    Yes the first one since it captures the loneliness.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Trudy Berry says:

    I like the first one as he seems more alone in the empty surroundings.

    Liked by 1 person

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