I was in a good mood, I had caught up on all my work, and it was a gorgeous summer day, so I gathered my stuff and went out to paint. I ended up in Sunderland, in a farmer’s field just below Mount Sugarloaf, a prominent outcropping on the banks of the Connecticut River. I painted away the afternoon. It was fun, but I was frustrated by the results. I took a few photos and then decided to do a pen sketch as back-up for further work in the studio. I had just about finished when a farmer came by and told me I wasn’t supposed to be out there and asked me to leave. I didn’t tell him I was just about to leave anyway.
Over the past few months our house has been beset with mice. It started when my wife noticed mouse poop in our kitchen drawers. We went out and bought some humane traps and, right away, we caught one. I took him about a mile up the road and let him out. The next day we caught another, and then another the day after that, then it settled down to about 2 or 3 a week. They were also getting into our cars in the driveway, causing a flood in the passenger section of my wife’s car when they clogged up the air conditioner drain. They also figured out how to defeat our traps, causing us to upgrade the design.
I began to suspect that the little guys were somehow finding their way back after I dropped them off. I tried to find some way to mark them so I could tell. I tried putting acrylic paint spots on their tail, but they cleaned it off before it dried. We haven’t caught one for six days now, so maybe we’ve won the battle at last.
Anyway, I decided to sketch a portrait of one of our last visitors.
Some of the best work I've done isn't hanging on a wall; it's sitting in a box in my closet that's full of my old sketch books. I fill up one or two books each year. Some of the sketches end up as a basis of a more formal work, but most don't. They’re more important to me as a pictorial diary and also as on-going training; learning to really see and to understand shape, light and color.
This blog is to share my sketches as well as my sketching experiences.