26 January, 2018. After sketching out this scene on a primed 4 x 5 inch piece of illustration board, I decided the color was too garish, too cartoonish. I went back in a few days later to tone down some of the raw color, all the while trying to decide for myself if I really consider gouache to be interesting enough – and let’s be honest, fun enough – to dedicate time toward mastering. Aspects of gouache remind me a little of oil. Attractive as I find that, the jury is still out for me.
Even when I’m not especially “feelin’ it,” pen and ink just seems to resonate for me, much as watercolor tends to do. —–
I find it a little bit interesting how the sketches on two facing pages, two entirely different subjects, can sometimes look like they were planned to be a single drawing. That’s what happened here; I like the serendipity and I like the composition that came about by pure chance.
I go through patches where few sketches seem to get made. At such times I have to force myself to get with it again. I did so by making sketches of the Cuban musicians performing at a recent art opening at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. After scanning my drawings I added the color digitally. I really like the mechanical look of the color, which comes off almost like some sort of print making process. It seems to fit harmoniously with the clearly hand drawn look of the line work.
I find myself drawing quite a few musicians performing on guitars, but this is the first bongo player I’ve sketched. I confess to a fascination with the instrument and have secretly coveted a set of drums for many years.
One thing I’ve done in the studio recently that has me feeling enthusiastic is going back to some of my small sketches and working them up again on large sheets of watercolor paper using India ink and a large watercolor brush. The loose line quality is exciting to look at and makes me want to do more large stuff. I’m thinking about making a collage background using found pieces of newspaper and trash from some of my locations, coating it with a clear coat and painting patchy acrylic over it so that only some of the text is still visible, and then redrawing one of my sketches very large and in much the same manner as the two pictured here.