When I was young, probably in college, I’d occasionally hear a person talking about this or that luminary, describing them as a “Rhodes Scholar.” My lack of awareness at the time meant that I’d only ever heard the phrase, not seen it spelled out. I had no idea. In my adventurous young mind, I heard it always as Rogue Scholar, and that turned itself into something I longed to be. Was it some sort of philosophical pirate? An intellectual outlaw? How did one arrive at an occupation or a moment where ‘actual’ scholars began describing one as a rogue of same? There was an implied concurrence that such a person was, indeed, learned, an expert— but somehow off the beaten path, or got to it by some unknown route. Delicious. Intriguing.
I realize it all sounds rather silly, but the idea has never disappeared from my mind; it has percolated in the recesses. In retrospect, I’m sure I knew it was my own fiction, but I was loathe to lose or destroy the whim. It’s probably still what I want to be when I grow up. Perhaps, if I ever found a grant for creatives, recipients thereof will be known as Rogue Scholars™. (The title alone will act as the first phase of weeding, of triangulating appropriates* for the honor.)
*Ha! That’s an appropriation of an inappropriate word. Maybe appropirates.
Saturday: it’s windy and feels like l’automne; fans dormant and kitchen window lowered almost shut, so things on the table there don’t wind up on the floor.
I was traveling in some parallel Europe; Scandinavia, and without much in the way of maps or even plans. Improvising. I followed a couple out of a stalled subway train, assuming they were also traveling locally, only to find myself on a large, old intercity bound for Nice.
I was visiting my brother, who’d taken up residence in a box-shaped apartment in Manhattan. The interior was the same green as those buildings in Gowanus. I’d been elsewhere, somewhere rough, and a friend of his found a dried up bird leg tangled in my hair.
She was revolted.
I was fascinated— where had that come from? I felt I’d imagined it into being, as I’d been hallucinating things— there was a dog’s snout stuck in the glass of the window. It hadn’t broken through but kind of sunken in and got stuck, as if the glass had been still soft, just for a moment, The rest of the dog was gone; just the end of his snout, teeth bared.
This month, Urban Sketchers Chicago is holding a 1 week 100 people symposium. I’m not there, but have only recently heard of this particular challenge, so I decided to give it a whirl. (They do it in 5 days, but I’m going to allow myself seven, as 7 days makes a week.)
Anyway, I did fourteen drawings of people last evening. These are mostly imaginaries, not from life (although a couple were ones I glimpsed on Netflix, on in the background). I’ll be in the park this evening, so there will be loads of people to observe and draw there, too.
I tried a different approach for this first one— paint first, ask questions later. But when later arrived I decided not to go back in with ink at all; I rather like the floaty quality of it, so left it as is.
Above is one I drew earlier in the week out at the beach— the abandoned buildings at the end where Riis turns into the Rockaways. I painted it a few days later, and here, too, a new approach— a desire to be less literal about my use of color, or at least my placement of it. I like how the bleed of the G2 pen worked with the color.
Here’s something I painted last night. It was a quick pencil drawing that I dashed off toward the end of my sketchbook last week, and then forgot until I stumbled across it, because I never skip pages.
And below a photo I snapped of it in progress, before I’d decided to keep on painting and add a setting, an atmosphere. (His hair was better before I got so fussy with the markers.)
I revisited those pencil sketches from my last post today, and had a bit of fun with some new markers and the watercolor half pans.
The fine grey marker with which I drew over the pencil in the first sketch proved to be water-based, so muddles my paints a bit. But the broad ones are definitely alcohol based, so will be fine to work in tandem with color.
After weeks of cool and rainy weather, it is at last a very fine day in Brooklyn, and I went walking this afternoon in shorts. As there are over two hours of daylight remaining, I met yet go back out and look for subjects to sketch,