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the Autumn of my Year

By September 29, 2013November 3rd, 2021Sketches


September rolls in and the weather becomes confusing.  Thanks to a cool late-Summer, the leaves are trying to turn their color early.  Things are still green but the clock has started and the atmosphere is light and blustery.

I got out twice this past week.  Consistently decent drawings are the flavor these days.  Nothing earth-shattering mind you but the days of difficult drawings are fewer and fewer.  The work studies and miserable drawings now can be saved for moments of grace or study.  Last Friday, I hit the meer for a bunch of studies.  The top image below is a full-page of sketchbook.  At top, an exercise in crosshatching.  A new tree on the Eastern shore that I’ve fallen in love with.  It’s quite dynamic in person and often boxy at the same time.  The drawing isn’t very exciting but i liked the ground and i liked that i was able to pull it out of terrible into ok.  At the bottom is a much more interesting and dynamic study of the landing at the South Eastern corner of the meer.  It may be the wildest corner of the meer, and it too is fairly new on the block.  Like i’ve been saving myself a section of meer to discover.  The goal with this drawing was to draw “like me”.  To speed up and to keep it sketchy.  And then pick out detail and value in the final mile.  Lots of fun.


I may have the date wrong on the image below, I think this was a solo drawing from an outing last week.  I had a little time on my way to the UES and stopped on the Eastern shore to get a different view of the Bad Tree (at right) and the copse that is my mainstay.  I am extremely pleased with this drawing besides about a billion flaws.  I love the composition.  I love that the Bad Tree no longer causes me a panic attack.  And it feels like it should be a painting.  Drawing to draw?  Or drawing to paint?  Again.


Saturday (yesterday) saw me attend a “Central Park” sketching Meet-up group.  They were meeting at Corlears Hook Park down on the Lower East Side.  Newly remodeled.  It is where the term “hooker” comes from, c. 1820s.  The park is between the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridge.  And the weather was brilliant.  Nice group of people.  Good day out.  I mostly kept to myself but had a couple of friendly conversations and answered a lot of questions about my methods and materials.  Nice to have those conversations.  Jesse Richards has organized this for about six years and it’s an impressive turn out.  Thanks, Jesse and all.

This Meet-up does 3 sketches, each at 40 mins.  In keeping with my murderous attempts at architectural drawing, the shoreline South of the Navy Piers along the East River.  19th Century factory and more modern attendants.  I’m never sure if i should be using a straight edge in architectural rendering.  Most people seem more at ease with scratchy lines in this context.  I haven’t worked it out for myself.  This shoreline was my first drawing of the day. Measuring sucked up a lot of time.  My third drawing, not pictured, was of the Williamsburg Bridge, not bad but not worth posting.  The Bridge drawing suffered from errant lines and probably scale.


Warmed up, the second drawing was of a small bush in amongst lots of seagrass as part of the border to a small sculpture park.  Most people opted for the bronze seals.  I guess i liked the light more creeping through the foliage.  Also, new group and slightly competitive… i wanted to have “something” that showed me well.  I love this drawing.



Modesty and the next step.  If you know me, you will know that despite my assured atmosphere, that I am not a great self promoter nor am i one to boast much.  However, I received strong compliments at this Meet-up group.  Two different people waited around my sketchbook to meet me.  A person at the end asked me what i was going to do with all those drawings when i was done with the book (i shrugged).  And on two occasions last week, I had people at Central Park go out of their way to compliment me.  One implied that mine was the type of art that he would buy.

It would be stupid of me to persist in thinking that the drawings are terrible.  I think in this past year I’ve gotten up to speed on decent landscape foliage.  My compositions have improved.  And now i need to start thinking about the next thing.  I know what i have to do in front of me for drawing.  Good god, do i.  There’s a long list of things to improve.  But in the overarching scheme, I need to figure out how to mature the sketches into finished drawings and/or take them back to the studio and take the sketches into paintings.  It’s time for the work to move into adolescence.  And who knows.  Fingers crossed.  Good lord.

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