21 May, 2018. I should probably write about drawing – this is, after all, my sketching journal. But the fact of the matter is that I really don’t want to, the better part of the story isn’t about drawing.
Yesterday morning dawned cool and gray. Dark clouds loomed overhead and distant thunder grumbled; it sounded like Mother Nature’s tummy was rumbling, which is a weird thing to say. Nevertheless, it’s so. I look forward to this particular morning every year because it’s the date of a cycling event that I enjoy, the Tour de Bier.
My bike was stowed in the back of the car and I grew a little apprehensive as I drove south to the event meet up location: fat rain drops began to fall, and soon I needed the windshield wipers. As I pulled up and parked my car under a low hanging tree, thunder clapped and lightning flashed. The sky opened up and rain began to pour down. The large building to my left, Knuckleheads Garage, was at times barely visible. No way the ride was starting on time, if at all this morning.
I might have been glum, but the rain is somehow refreshing. I love thunderstorms. The air is charged and the world is fresh. A couple of sketchbooks lie on the passenger seat, along with a couple of pens. While the maelstrom crashed around me, I sat behind the wheel of the car and sketched out what I could see of Knuckleheads and the surrounding area. I could just make out a few cyclists braving the weather to run from their parked cars to the relative dryness of event awnings. I remained where I’d parked, making a few sketches until the hosts of the event Tweeted out the all clear.
In truth, the rain didn’t abate for hours. I eventually put my sketchbook down, and wheeled my bike toward the start line, through puddles and a steady downpour. I was drenched before ever getting the bike out of the car. Strange as it may sound, I was ok with the situation. Being out in the elements, hiking through snow or pedaling through a shower, perspiration somehow still welling up on my forehead and mingling with the rivulets of falling water cascading from under my helmet – well, it really makes me feel truly alive.
I think that’s part of what draws me toward sketching on location, especially outdoors. The world is an unpredictable place, very imperfect in fact. It’s wonderful to be experiencing it for real, rather than virtually on television, or via the internet. It’s real.
It’s real, and it makes me feel alive and in touch. Drawing the stories I encounter… well, that’s merely a byproduct.
The sketch above was made with a Uni-Ball Deluxe pen in a Canson 180 sketchbook. Being a captive of my car for forty minutes led me to making several versions of the sketch. Naturally, I liked the original one best of all.