Moleskine Sketchbook 7, Part 1

Earlier this year, during confinement, I began a new sketchbook; but was it really new?  In 2006 I decided to keep a sketchbook solely dedicated to color mixing as reference for paintings.  That only lasted for a handful of pages, and since that year this sketchbook has been sitting on my shelf untouched.  Somehow long ago I decided that since this book had oil paint swatches on it that it could no longer serve as a “regular” sketchbook.  I’m a little strange that way, once I get something in my head it stays that way and it takes a while to realize that not all things or ideas are permanent.  So I began to take notes in this “new” book and before I knew it I began to draw in it.  

After finding some sort of success with my sketchbook on Instagram I became precious with it and was only doing detailed landscape drawings.  Again, nothing is set in stone and no one said I could only do landscape sketches/drawings in my sketchbook.  Besides, the reason for keeping a sketchbook is for jotting down ideas, a moving and evolving tool to help with the creation of final artworks which in my case would be either painting or printmaking.  So why not use it for figure drawing?  Above are two drawings of male figures, something I’ve been getting into this year.  Can you guess which one is from a virtual life session and which one is from a photo? 

On to the landscape thumbnail sketches we go again!  I have been developing a lot of these from imagination, but the two rectangles above were begun in Central Park while on a stroll after work.  

Here we have a page done from imagination (left), the other begun from observation (right).

Central Park is full of beautiful, old, majestic trees; it is hard not to draw them.  I began two detailed tree portraits one afternoon, but since my way of working is very slow I had to finish both from photos.  I always try to get as much done on site before moving on to photos.  Even then I don’t look at them while I work.  I only study them quickly and then continue working on the drawing from memory, this allows for some artistic freedom, which is always the fun part.  The drawing above is the first out of the pair, and this one took over ten hours to complete in multiple sittings.  

More ideas flowing into the rectangles.  The two on the left page are from imagination and the ones to the right were begun from life and finished later from memory.  

Speaking of memory and artistic freedom, here I began a two page drawing of a scene I saw out the window of a train on my way back to NYC from Connecticut.  It was such an ideal image and it flashed before me and was gone in one second.  As we passed it I took a mental snap shot and immediately reached for me sketchbook and put down some compositional outlines.  Over the weeks after I worked at it from that fading memory, forcing myself to visualize with detail what had flashed before me that afternoon.  Memories change, and I’m sure this drawing looks nothing like the place that inspired it, but this is what makes this process all the more interesting.  In a way you are drawing from within and materializing an ideal that has been brewing inside.  

All things come back around full circle, and that is that case with this two page drawing.  It was begun on my way home in a train and weeks later it was finished in a train as I made my way back to NYC from DC.  


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