Sketching a Ghost Sign

Coca Cola Ghost Sign

Coca Cola Ghost Sign

The artist, who is not a materialist, sees more than the incident.  He puts in his work, whether conscioulsy or not, a record of sensibilities, and his work bridges time and space, bringing us together.

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

I found a ghost sign yesterday afternoon, photographed it in the afternoon sun, and decided after putting away the windmill that I would try and sketch it out.  I’m working on that Fluid Watercolor block, trying to remind myself that I am sketching, not painting (such a hard thing for me to do in watercolor–I really need to loosen up and learn some things!).

I always find it hard to break in, to “dirty up” a new toy.  When I won Best of Show the other night, I was presented not only with a handsome check, but a Winsor & Newton lightweight sketcher’s box.  I went wild, just looking at it!  Now, two days later, I finally work up the nerve to open it and use it, dirtying up the palettes inside, and using pigments I’ve never before used.

For the underlying brick wash, I’ve combined Scarlet Lake and Viridian (two pigments I don’t recall ever using before).  Once it’s dry, I’ll begin working brick textures over it.  I’ve already screwed up the “o” in “Cola” (I always screw up the Coca-Cola script, though I just love looking at it!).  But there is a large tree spreading its canopy beneath this ghost sign, so no doubt I’ll thrust some branches and foliage up over that second “o”.  I just have to keep reminding myself–this is only a sketch, learn to sketch, don’t try to make every watercolor endeavor frameable.

I love the Robert Henri sentiment posted above.  I cannot explain the “Proustian” sentiment I feel stirring within when I view advertising billboards remembered from my youth.  I am truly not a materialist.  No doubt I try to apply all the academic training I can recall to every artistic endeavor I engage.  But it is feelings beneath that I am truly after, and every time a viewer of my work feels those stirrings, I feel that I have accomplished my task.

Thanks for reading.  I’m having fun.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal because I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.


10 Responses to “Sketching a Ghost Sign”

  1. BJR Says:

    Your ghost sign is looking great! I don’t see a “messed up o”…but I know how that is, I always see mistakes in my drawings that others don’t. It’s hard for me to loosen up, too. I tend to make drawings… even in sketch books! ;( BTW…you have a paint set like I dream of having. Amazing what comes our way sometimes, isn’t it? Last year for my birthday I was presented with a complete set of Faber-Castell watercolor pencils in a wooden box, nonetheless!! But it’s kinda’ hard to break it in…I tend to just look at all those amazing colors! Enjoy your journey…


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you BJR. I always have trouble “breaking in” new art presents! I am deeply enjoying this new box of Winsor & Newtons, however. The field box I’ve used the past four years is falling apart on me. Time to make the change. Thank you for all the nice things you say about my work.


  2. djdfr Says:

    What a nice prize!


  3. Deanna Tennent Masterson Says:

    I do feel a ‘lost time’, & that we have forsaken it when I look at your paintings…it touches a yearning part inside. As our culture charges into the caverns of Wal Marts, it’s so nice to reflect on places where there probably was very little anonymity, & we knew our neighbors, & their names. This new Ghost sign is looking good with your new colors! I’m involved in a weekly painting from life with a model class & am filled with all the shaky uncertainty you write about so well. Thank you!


    • davidtripp Says:

      Best of luck, Deanna. I’m always screwing up my life drawing and painting sessions! I just cannot seem to get the human figure to look good on paper. Thank you for your comments on the ghost sign. I can’t wait to get back and finish it. I’ve been too busy with other things lately.


  4. coreyaber Says:

    Great quote. I’ll have to get the Henri book. Love the new set you won too. I am interested in hearing more about the fluid paper. I have been using arches, but, at least for plein air sketching, would be interested in something a little less expensive if it works well. Have you tried the fabriano artistico? I am curious about that as well.


    • davidtripp Says:

      I have never tried fabriano artistico. The Fluid is not nearly as good as D’Arches, but I like it fine for sketching, and think I could churn out decent paintings with it as well. I still prefer D’Arches though. I’ll have to check out this brand you’ve run by me.


  5. Playamart - Zeebra Designs Says:

    Ah, winsor and newton watercolors! when i ponder what i would grab if i had to vacate the house in a hurry, the w&n watercolors are quite important!

    what a great prize! lucky you!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: