Here are a few elegant examples from buildings bordering on Le Jardin Public -- the mascarons are the faces you see above each of those three arches. . .
Still, I really wanted some of these faces in my sketchbook. So I prepared a page with six small circles, pre-painted with some wet-on-wet watercolour, and then I set out my clothes and gear for a quiet, early exit in the morning. . .
I wasn't as early as I'd hoped (the good news there is that I've been sleeping a bit longer lately), but there weren't too many passers-by at 8 on a Sunday morning, and the rain mostly held off until I'd got these six down on the page. The numerals above refer to the order in which I drew them -- except for that circled "12" which is the street address that sits above #4's head. . . .
That's the beauty, though, of keeping the focus on process, not product -- or Process as Product? For me, the sketchbook becomes not only a record of my travels but also of my progress with mark-making. And if you've ever tried it, you'll know how much this process gathers in so many sensory impressions of the moment, distills their memory and imbues the sketch with them, so that I recall the light sprinkles that began to fall as I was nearing completion. I hear the pigeons cooing somewhere to my right, see again the altercation as three youths tried to fake entry to a building across the street. feel on my back the cold stone of the building I leaned against while drawing.
What a relief to have got myself back to this acceptance. As I mentioned obliquely back here, I let myself get frustrated and then discouraged a few weeks ago, over-reaching perhaps, and then being overly critical. Since then, though, I was inspired by this technique of preparing small, pre-painted "frames" on the page and then finding a suitable subject to draw in them. Somehow, setting those parameters offers a kind of security, and although the paint colour is random, not particularly suited to the subject, it lends some cohesion and energy to the page.
I'll show you another page later this week when I take you back to Rome to see where that walk ended. . . Meanwhile, the change I've made to the Comments feature seems to be allowing more of you to leave a response, so if you're so inclined . . . You know I always enjoy hearing from you.