Spring is short in California. One of the surest signs it’s here is mustard fields in bloom. Everywhere. I caught a few fields in bloom last week and tried different things.
This first field lies south of San Jose, not far from the IBM campus. I did three takes in quick succession.
This is my first take. When there’s a hit of color, like there is in this scene, my first take is always like this, unmodulated and in your face with color. I suppose it’s because that is how the color feels to me.
Once I have that first piece out of my system, there’s a much better chance that I can have a more nuanced response and can notice and explore other aspects of a scene. This next piece is drawn in brown ink with the Ackerman pen. The color is wax crayon. (What do I think of the pen? I love the line it can make because I love dip pens. It acts and feels like one, and handles not at all like a fountain pen or any other kind of pen. It is a fussy pen, and doesn’t always do what I want it to. And I never leave a drawing session without inky fingers. In my experience, you cannot pick and choose some of these aspects of this pen, it comes with it all. Did I say I love the line quality?)
Piece #3 started with a wash of liquid watercolor with ink drawing over it.
That was Day 1. The next day I met with Nina outside the library in Saratoga. This is where we sketched a year ago, just before everything shut down. This time I brought along an accordion fold book (this is the ZigZag book) and did one big piece in it. Here is a shot of the whole piece and a closeup of the panels.
I had fun with this piece, but I’m glad I did it after a day of experimenting with drawing and painting mustard using different techniques. it would have been imossible for me to pick media and techniques and commit to them for a long piece like this without the experiments on Day 1.