I really liked Leon and almost immediately upon leaving knew I'd have to return someday. It felt strange to me to look forward to a bigger city after the small towns of the Meseta and yet only have a few hours there to look around. I had a conversation with a woman I walked with almost every day from Astorga on--Natalie from Denmark, about how hard it can be to turn off tourist mode in your brain and just accept pilgrimage mode. In other words, it's in my nature to want to see everything I can--always on the look out for interesting little museums, wanting to see the historic buildings and wander the streets, reading up on the history or the famous foods of the area. Instead, on this journey, you are always simply passing through. The physical path of the Camino is what you get to know so well and you have to learn to ease your grip on all these interesting places you pass through.
Every summer at the Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governor's Island, I leave in awe of the beautiful 1920s costumes and snazzy dance moves of fellow New Yorkers. It is such a colorful event to take part in and to doodle afterwards. Every year I see this particular couple on the dance floor and they are marvelous. Watching them, I feel momentarily transported into the supper club scene of a movie where complicated dance steps are second nature and get even better the more bath tub gin one guzzles.
Drawing them was a little bit of a breakthrough for me. Some of my jazz age drawings have been looking a little tight and overly cartoony, but after a day of frustrated drawing last weekend, where nothing was quite working, I did a rough, loose sketch of them and it just began to come together naturally. With painting, I think I need a fair amount of warm up time to finally loosen up enough to create a piece I really like.
Here is the evolution of the painting. I started with a wet pink wash to play off of her red costume. Whether or not I have the patience to let it dry thoroughly before moving onto the next layer depends on my mood.
I've been playing a bit with time lapses while working and captured a bit of the layering process.
And the finished product. I often outline in black with a brush pen and India ink, but I liked the effect of using black watercolor and seeing it bleed a bit into shadows. I'm really liking this effect and I think I'll use it for my next round of Mermaid Parade paintings.
This piece is for sale in the shop and will be part of a short Illustrated Guide to the Jazz Age Lawn party I'm working up for August's to do.
A few Fitzgerald-y pages from my sketchbook from last weekend's Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governor's Island. In case you missed the straw boater hats, champagne cocktails and old timey jazz from Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra, the lawn party's second act this summer is August 13 and 14.