26 July, 2015. Unfortunately, those are not field notes. I originally made the rough pencil sketch, then wandered about on foot for several more hours. Was I in Dijon at the time? Perhaps, but here I am, several weeks later, the various villages and cities all having blended together in my mind into one marvelous experience. Maybe it was Paris. Hmm. What I do recall is that I came across several other vintage bicycles that caught my eye. Later on that evening I cleaned up the rough sketch, fixing the proportions to make the contour drawing more believable. Fortunately, I’m very familiar with vintage bicycle anatomy, so that knowledge helped me to weave details into the original very rough sketch that was decidedly lacking in such detail.
As I worked up the sketch I racked my brain trying to recall what color this mixte model was. Try as I might, the only colors I could remember were those on another bike, a Thiely randonneur model. Using the Thiely as starting point, I scribbled in my color notations and set the sketchbook aside. The Thiely was a striking bike and I figured I could do far worse than to apply those colors to the unknown French step through!
So I used the distinctive yellow-green and seat tube graphic as a color guide when I finally got around to adding color yesterday afternoon. After having worked with inked line as a base drawing for quite some time, it’s been fun and different to leave the line to be defined by simply pencil marks. The sketches are less boldly drawn, and less “cartoony” looking. In some ways I think this may be a more sensitive way to represent the French locales, people, and things I have in my sketchbooks yet to be painted. (2B graphite in holder with watercolor in Canson Watercolor Journal.)