When I was a kid I was infatuated by the notion of pirate ships, the HMS Bounty and other sailing ships portrayed in movies getting caught in ‘the doldrums’, the area along the equator where prevailing winds are often very low. Without wind power, these ships and their crews could flounder for days, waiting for some weather disruption that would give them enough wind to take them out of the area.
These days we talk about being ‘in the doldrums’ more figuratively but, for me and my sketching right now, my doldrums make me think of those movie scenes where the guys on the ship mournfully looked out at a dead calm sea, waiting for something to happen.
I know that spring is going to come ‘real soon’ and that while truly warm temperatures are still a couple months away, there will be some ‘tolerable’ days when I can get out on the streets and sketch. But as I’ve become completely bored doing pencil renderings of white heads of Olympic gods, I’m bobbing up and down in my imaginary sketching ocean, anticipating the upcoming exodus from my house and onto the streets.
So I’ve been filling little sketchbooks with doodles, quick gestures of people on the streets and an occasional coffee house session. They’re fun, they’re probably improving my hand-eye coordination, but they’re not much to look at so I won’t bore you with them.
But it’s been a while since I’ve posted so I’ll show you a sketch I did when I just HAD to go somewhere and sketch. I was at the museum and decided to try something different. If the subjects won’t change, change your approach to them, says me. And so, rather than spending time blocking in proper proportions, I set a time limit of around half an hour, and started scribbling with my Pilot Falcon in my Stillman & Birn Alpha (10×7) sketchbook. Direct with ink, pedal to the metal. Would it look anything like Zeus’ head? It actually took me a few minutes beyond my half-hour limit because I grabbed a waterbrush I had that’s filled with very dilute Lex Gray ink and, shazaam…a mediocre depiction of the head of Zeus, a head that’s had its nose broken off giving is a rather odd look.