Way back in June of last year I participated in both the annual Wild Arts Walk and the Quick Draw challenge as a fundraiser for Friends of Creamer's Field, one of the non-profits I wholeheartedly support and love to help out when an opportunity like this presents itself. Here's a bit of the process behind the panel that I did + donated as a demo piece.
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While timed drawing exercises (participating artists had one hour within which to execute their respective works) are good for tripping up an obsessive control freak, I still actually spent a coupla hours on the evening before the gig prepping up a panel. None of the flagged doodles in my sketchbook cued up for the next round of public demos were simple enough compositions to pull off in an hour, so I relied on a doodle done in desperation while racking my brain for something appropriate to the setting.
Some Google Image Searches for "goose calls," a couple refresher sketches of Canada geese and an end to the oscillation between "use your own voice" versus "find your own voice" and my vision finally took flight. Okay, more like waddled about the field.
While the initial concept was funny in a sort of bittersweet sense, what with the spurned uptilting of a beak, the shift in tone really made it much more of an attractive piece expanding upon the deep, philosophical implications of the message (whichever way it's interpreted).
One of the peculiar things I've noticed over the years of drawing is that one I've drawn something I can recall it at any point afterwards. Drawing from life, like when using a model or doing a reference sketch, focuses attention on the subject matter in a way that is similar to intense studying, but engages much more than just the eyes. Factor in some muscle memory after a practice session and there's a perfect example of total recall when put under the spotlight for such an event as this.
This is probably ripping back the curtain of The Great & Terrible Oz of Cartooning, since all this preparatory work might disillusion some folks on the supposed spontaneity of the scene. I look at it more like warmup stretches a serious runner undertakes before a marathon. And above and beyond all that I wound up doing two virtually identical versions of the panel in the allotted timeframe. Besides the practical value of doing at least twice the work in hopes of bettering the odds that at least one will pan out in the public eye, it's nice to back yourself up in situations like this. Turns out this was particularly prudent as I ended up accidentally ripping one the two originals while attempting to cut the completed panel off the watercolor block... oops! Discerning eyes can make out the rip right underneath the "Nuggets" header in the upper left corner:
As it turned out the winning bidder, who got their name(s) inscribed on the finished piece, was the parents of an extremely attentive kid who watched at my table for nearly the entire whole hour. The Mom said he really wanted it hung in his room, but seeing as how it was destined as a dad's day gift, I gave 'em the penciled rough version posted above too. You'll just have to take my word for it that the finished version looked really good, much better than the one used for the Nuggets feature, but it's gone now, having mentally fledged and left the nest.
Next weekend I'll elaborate a bit more on the gig with an update after this year's event.
|Photos: Helen Howard|