Saturday, June 13, 2009

So What If I Can't Dance?!

If you live in Miami like I do, unless you live in a cave (and there are no caves in Miami as far as I know), you will be invited to a Quince. A Quince is the enormous party that occurs when a young lady turns age 15. She is the center of attention. She dances with her father and her grandfathers, gives flowers to her mother and grandmothers, toasts are made, and she dances with her "Court" composed of her many friends in a choreographed, well-rehearsed routine. Dinner is served, alcohol flows (for those of us somewhat beyond 15), and there is dancing. It is a big bash.

Last night was the Quince of Christine Alvarez, and it was a beautiful affair. We dined, we drank, and well, I danced once - if you could call that dancing. But I was not a wallflower. I pulled out my new watercolor Moleskine and kept busy with my new Lamy Safari pen with Noodlers Ink. I tried to capture the scene in the way I have seen others do. This is, I suppose, the first time that I have ever memorialized an event in a drawing.

So far I love my Lamy Safari - it is great for sketching in ways that the technical pen is not. And it is waterproof, so today I could add color to my sketch. I'd say that this drawing meets Everyday Matters Challenge no. 129 which is "Draw People Doing Something" (which sounds to me like a topic from "Wheel of Fortune" where a category might be, say, "Thing", but it's good enough for me.)

When I completed the drawing, I felt limber. Ready to go. I pulled out my other Moleskine, the one for sketches, and started furiously sketching a few folks dancing. I was almost scrubbing the page. It was interesting though - this time the Lamy Safari did not seem to keep up. I think that maybe the frenetic strokes do not suit the instrument. In fact, the ink started flowing erratically. This fit the drawing just fine, but had me a bit concerned about the pen. Today, at home, I decided that I wanted some color behind the figures. I tried to lay a wash with watercolor but on this smooth paper with no teeth, the result was uneven and rough.

Wrong pen. Wrong paper. Erratic ink flow. Patchy color. But somehow it was just right for what I was trying to convey. Two wrongs, in this case did in fact equal a right. (Or so I would like to believe). This drawing meets Everyday Matters challenge no. 155, "Draw something with a step or steps", because all dances have steps, right?

This morning, my Lamy Safari wouldn't work at all. This is my first fountain pen, and I know nothing about fountain pens. The ink cartridge was nearly full. I filled it the rest of the way anyway. I tried to remove any air bubbles by pouring out a few drops of ink. Finally I blew into the top part of the pen. Voila! It worked. Go figure.

If any of you folks out there think you know what happened, I'd appreciate your input. Will a Lamy Safari only tolerate sedate sketching? Did I do anything to cause the problem? What, in fact, was the problem? And what did I do that fixed it, for heavens sake? For the record, I still love my new Lamy Safari.

Finally, under the heading "drawing in public" - this week I have sketched in ink and colored the drawing with watercolor on site for the first time, at a Quiznos sub shop. Another head, of course (I am always drawing heads).

It is an interesting change, drawing in ink with the goal of applying color. I am testing the waters as to how much detail to include.

First efforts, but I am always looking forward..


  1. Beautiful, Dan! I am SO not ready to draw in public. I have a great respect for anyone who can do that. And who can distill a busy scene into a few lines, like your first drawing.

    Really inspiring!

    I'm still using a technical pen ~ time to haul it out again.

  2. Love your people drawings!! Unfortunately, I can't offer any advice about fountain pens.

  3. Hi Dan! These are great! My favorite is the one in the watercolor sketchbook. Great scene! I don't have a lot of experience with the fountain pen, but I have had times when it took a second to start writing again. I'm not sure what causes it, but usually I just open it and give the converter a little twist to get the ink flowing.

    I've really got to get something new up on my own blog soon; I've been slacking!

  4. I too recently went to my first Quince. It was very fun and oh the food. I took a camera not my sketchbook but I did dance. Great work.

  5. Your drawings are terrific! Very inspired, they show so much liveliness of the scene

  6. Awesome pen strokes as always! Stuff like this would be something people like our group leader would take and compile to make more books :)

  7. Thanks so much for all of your wonderfully supportive comments.

    Raena: I've been tired all week and didn't post, so I'd turn on the computer and say,"Well, Raena (my west coast buddy)hasn't posted either.." and I'd feel just fine - you were my excuse, you slacker!

  8. This is really interesting - I'd never heard of it before. I just love the drawings of the dancers. You've got so much movement into it.