Harlem Meer, 11.18.12

By November 18, 2012Sketches

A couple of days worth of drawing.  One bitter cold; one unseasonably warm.  The drawing is getting good enough and copious enough that i now have to stop posting the terrible work and just selectively update.  Trust me that we both win in this.

A selection spanning three days.  The first two from last week.  This will be the last time i use the Fowkes black border device.  It served me as a well to draw black from but my inability to draw a proper square on the fly is jacking up the drawings.  This past week was a major turning point.  The drawings went from bad to trying to be good to being good-enough on their way to being quite good.  I won’t qualify things further in the future but i’ve moved out of the doldrums.  I knew this day would come.  And now there should be a long hard slog of micromanaging the work and applying “growth”.  This next phase is primarily about editing and composition.  Editing means taking out bad trees and moving good trees in.  Improving your lie.  It’s an important next step in the evolution of landscape work.

As the season deprives us of copious foliage, the lay of the land becomes much more evident.  I’ve become fascinated by the rocky ledges and the backbone that ridges around the meer.

Even the Bad Tree has become easier to deal with now that its structure is more apparent.

I had a little time on Friday to hit the Meer and it was a very cold 40 degrees.  Two drawings and the shivering finally got to me.  Composition on this is nice.  Blew out the background.  Not sure why but it gives me an AW Dow vibe.

These studies are generally about 30-45minutes.  I decided to shoot the process.  And i’m glad i did.   Here’s the lay in of the island in my sketchbook.

Massing in the lights and the darks.  The wave patterns on the Meer have a kind of Kirby glow to them.  Sadly it gets lost in the final product as the non-waterproof ink krept in and ate all the definition.

Bringing the gray sky into the last step.  A bit of a mess.  The water definition’s loss almost makes me weep.  It’s evident here that i’m still wrestling with materials.  But… likable.

Saturday AM with Denning. We ran into another plein air gang of blue hairs that were none to happy to greet us to their park.  There’s totally going to be some sort of sketching smack down.  Didn’t realize that there was a turf issue brewing.

I loved everything i did yesterday.  i’m sharing 4 of the 5, as the last one was a nice little note of the east shore.

 

This one below is probably the most complicated sketch i’ve done yet.  That southern cove.  Just love it.  I even love the things i don’t like about it.

I’ll admit that sitting near the boathouse is probably the best spot at the park.  It deprives me of the island but you get a few vistas.  Usually fishermen will block you out of this spot in the fair weather months.  Denning and I were sitting on the water’s edge under a large tree.  After about 20 minutes, we began to be pelted with these sappy nuts by squirrels.  One scored a hit on my sketchbook (see below, left).  Lesson to be learned here is that even when you’re doing a good sketch of the Bad Tree that it’s mojo is far and wide.  Nobody encounters the Bad Tree and leaves unscathed.

The Noodler’s Ahab pen had been out of commission for a few weeks.  So the other morning i went to town on it three times trying to force it to feed the ink.  By the end, it looked like i’d strangled a squid.  Thought it was so funny that i’d take a snap of it.  Dirty paws and an unclean mind are going to get me in trouble.

Spent the rest of the day visiting a fair in a church, Denning and i stopped by Leigh Morse Fine Arts to view the Fanny Brennan exhibition that I helped put together, then down to the Frick for the best drawing exhibition ever, and i rounded the horn to Lee’s Art Supplies to bolster up larder.  Finally got some misket and a Pentel water brush i’d been eyeing.  The Stillman&Birn sketchbook myth continues on but I don’t know that i love them.  Strathmore and Canson both have beautiful hardcover books with good paper and I love thin format sketchbooks.  LOVE.  Take note S&B.  Good paper will get you so far, but i want to love my sketchbook too.

Have a great Thanksgiving.  I hope you can enjoy the day and find some peace.  Be thankful for the love that you have in your life and look for ways to enrich others.  Cheers.

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