A Fine Spring Morning in Dystopia

041716-razor-wire-yardThis has been on my list for a while now. It’s the corner of the industrial property where I have studio space – the management recently saw fit to install a new fence with razor wire around the top. This amuses me to no end, because it’s really not a bad neighborhood at all. It looks all dystopian and prison-yardy though, and ensures that nothing short of birds, lizards, or very determined commandos can possibly be invading from that side of the property. Add some sun to create fabulous swirly shadows, and I can’t resist!

This is probably my favorite sketch of year so far. The thing that made me get out a brush was the shadows – I was just longing to capture those awesome swirls exactly as I saw them. Considering that they were the very last thing to go on there, this whole sketch was quite a gamble. Had I put all that time in (an hour-ish) and them messed up the most important point, what a disappointment that would have been! Fortunately not the case. It was actually one of those magical experiences we all have from time to time – every stroke lands right where you want it, every swipe of paint goes down exactly as desired. I went in cold with the ink, got the structure down and then followed up with color. Working with the brush pen was a real joy too, with all the variation of line quality I could possibly want.

I wish my 15-year-old self could have seen this. She would have been thrilled. Not because it’s the greatest painting on the planet – I’m sure somebody will be happy to describe all its flaws and shortcomings – but because the experience is exactly what I longed for back in the day. See it, sketch it, and it turns out exactly as intended with no additional fuss. See? You’ll get there, kid. Just plan on a lot of miles on the brush before that time arrives.

As noted on the sketch, I make no apologies for the hummingbird or the lizard. Both made multiple appearances while I was painting this.

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