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Harlem Meer, 11.05.12

By November 5, 2012November 3rd, 2021Sketches

The meer is all boarded up with chainlink as a response to hurricane Sandy.  I attempted to stop by last week but it was impassable.  There was some talk of going last Saturday but the 20 degree windchill temps made sitting in the pre-dawn shade less than enviable.  I tapped out.  Though my sketching companion is seemingly bulletproof when it comes to barometric issues.

Today though, a balmy mid 40s on the mercury and below that in wind, seemed nigh viable.  I went down to the boathouse and gave it a shot.  Quick today.  That was the agenda.  Not a lot of lingering.  I tried to keep my drawings to about 30 minutes and it’s amazing how that time just gets sucked up.  I managed to get two drawings in before i needed to bolt.  I tried out a new disposable Kuratake brush pen.  It’s plastic and the ink is in a well in the base that you perforate.  Ingenious design.  Excellent point.  But i find the lack of flexibility a major issue in the fibers and the ink is sort of greasy and refuses to dry on the B+S Epsilon paper.  The Kuratake has great fine lines and it’ll deliver a long swath of black slabs but it was impossible to manage much in between.  So for me, the drawings were blocked in with the pen.  At the end, I came back in with the Noodler’s Ahab and added some greebling and detail.

That said, maybe the most successful day since I’ve started plein air sketching.  Good massing.  Nice depth.  Excellent dialogue with the mark making in the way i used to oil paint.  Everything felt just sort in synch.  It continues to get better but at least now it feels like it’s pointed at something.  Toil toil…

First up a detail of two trees:

And for the second sketch, i backed out of it.  Same trees, but i’ve included the meer as well as the rocky ledge behind it and some of the park furniture:

I just couldn’t be happier with the above.  Everything went down like i wanted it to.  If the ink had been better, i would have dropped a tone over the meer but i knew it was just going to self destruct so i kept it graphic.  Toyed with some gray bleeding to the right, under the scrub.  Excellent sketch.


And what’s more, they are both actually on the same little page:

This is going to sound funny, because we’re just talking about sketchbook stuff… but it’s nice when you have a page that doesn’t suck.  Usually something’s gone wrong.  Your sleeve drags through something or you kill an ant and have to photoshop it out or… you know, life just happens.

Quit while you’re ahead.

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  • Delia McNair says:

    Good philosophy. “Quit while your’e ahead”- even better results. Are your ink drawings available for sale are you currently represented?

    PS how awful of you to ask MATH questions on your security code for comments. I only trust Paul Ryan with numbers, not I !

    • Thanks for the support and interest Delia. And i’m sorry for the math.

      So far, I’ve ramping up on plein air sketching in a sacrosanct sketchbook. in the not-too-distant future, i’d like to move from sketchbook to working on single sheets. if not for sale, at least it would help with drying issues on more complicated pieces.

      I’m not currently represented by anyone but I have spoken with a gallerist in NYC that may give me a show in 2013. Any developments there will show up here or on twitter. Nothing is firm at present.

      Again, sorry about the math. Nothing is worse than cleaning out robot waste from a blog. That said, i’ll keep an eye out for alternate solutions. 😉