I don’t usually do a sketch this detailed or time-consuming “on a school night”, meaning “on a day when I have so many other things to do that I already don’t have enough time”; it’s enough for me to take a quick break and let my mind rest from other logical pursuits to simply visualize something in pencil or marker.
However, when I came up the steps and saw Giuseppe at the top having a bath and enjoying the sun on a cool morning, I realized as my jaw slowly dropped open with wonder and I realized I was already planning which drawing paper and pastels I’d use, how I’d apply them, could in fact feel their softness in my hands, could feel myself blend them with my fingers, just which shade of blue, that this was the sketch I wanted to do right now, and no other sketch was going to get done until I managed to get this one out of my mind, and that only by actually drawing it.
What got me first was that graceful long curve of highlight from Giuseppe’s shoulder down his leg, and from there the delicate secondary highlights in his shadowed areas made by the sunlight reflected off the wall. Just like Sally’s photos from the other day, I love the subtleties of that secondary highlight in reflection.
The problem was that my pastels were upstairs, beyond Giuseppe, as was my camera. I did my best to hold the memory, tiptoed past Giuseppe who was still absently bathing, got my stuff, tiptoed back down the stairs, turned around and took a few photos. Then I put my camera down and got that long line of highlight down on paper, then the outlines of other areas as Giuseppe continued licking at himself and I could tell he was done with his bath and thinking about a nap. He turned his head and stopped in thought about whether or not he should lick his shoulder, I caught the expression on paper, then a blurry photo. He did lick himself and within a minute was headed for my bed for the afternoon, but I had gotten the major outlines and color areas down. I finished it just now, from one of the photos I had taken, blending in his torso with my fingers and then rebuilding the highlights and deep shadows; blending tends to knock them off.
I had originally called this “Regal” and “Statue”, and while Giuseppe is very statuesque I know the influence of a good relaxing bath and warm sunshine were taking a toll on his awareness.
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