A Stroll Through Downtown on a Hot Summer Evening

8 June, 2016. Yesterday was my birthday, and time to leave suburbia for dinner at The Rieger, followed by drinks in the basement speakeasy Manifesto. Built in 1915 and located in the Crossroads Art District, the old hotel supposedly hosted Al Capone when he came to Kansas City. Our new trolly system runs right past the front of the building. I like the area because of, rather than in spite of, the crumbling concrete surfaces that are parking lots and sidewalks: these elements provide a certain texture, along with a sense of age and use that appeals to me.

This sketch is part of my continued testing of Strathmore Aquarius II watercolor paper as a suitable medium for my portable “sketch pamphlets.” I was initially worried that Noodler’s ink seemed to reactivate after wetting, but I’ve since discovered that I just need to have greater patience. It seems that the ink takes longer to “set” on this paper than in my Canson 180 sketchbook. So the solution is to wait longer before plopping down wet washes of color.

This is the view outside The Rieger, facing north toward the Missouri River. As usual, I like to take the opportunity to combine dining and sketching. There was time for a short stroll following dinner, so we headed out the door and down the street. Even with a breeze, sidewalks and pavement that had been baking all afternoon seemed to radiate heat, and I was sweating on this, the first legitimate day of summer weather this year. The panel size of my sketch pamphlets are somewhere around 5 x 7 inches; unfolded to two panels provided me with an adequate canvas size to quickly sketch out the street scene in pencil. Ink, and then watercolor were added later at home. (Lamy Safari medium nib fountain pen and watercolor on Strathmore Aquarius II watercolor paper.)

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