Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sketching on the road.

Whenever my dear wife Pat and I take a "History Trip", we each make sure to bring our sketchbook.  It is a much better memory-making device than our camera.  We all have thousands of digital photos choking up space on hard drives, most never seen more than a few times before disappearing under the avalanche of, you guessed it . . . even more digital photos.

However, when I take the time - anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour - to sit or stand in one place and sketch a scene, I rarely forget that moment.  I can still recall the hot sun on my neck at the 1866 Fetterman Massacre site in Wyoming or the feel of a Montana wind blowing down the valley of the Little Bighorn and through the greasy grass on "Last Stand" hill, while my pencil, paper and imagination carefully fused the past and the present.

The last few days, I managed to draw some small pictures while at Gettysburg and the Robert Morris Inn in Maryland, and here they are.  I may post more over the next week. Be kind, dear viewer, and remember - they are simply intended to jog my memory and perhaps inspire me to break out my paints.

One more thing.  The next time you venture forth, by all means - bring your camera.  Just don't forget your pencil and sketchbook.

Sketching Round Top at Gettsyburg, Pennsylvania, while
in period costume.  The visitors loved it.

Round Top from the north, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

McPherson's Barn, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Aboard the 1886 skipjack, "Rebecca Ruark" out of Tilghman, Maryland

The 1710 Robert Morris Inn, Oxford, Maryland


  1. Gorgeous work. I think the sketch aboard the skipjack is my favorite.

    You've explained the perfectly, I think, the difference of camera vs. sketchbook. Maybe an artist/photographer would have the same kinds of sense memories, because they work with the light and the atmospheric conditions, etc. But I often wonder if all those people waving their cellphones around at a flashmob or any other event, aren't separating themselves a little from the what is going on, at the same time they are showing people that they were actually there!

  2. Thanks, Miki!,

    It does seem as though the lens could separate one from the actual experience when used as indiscriminately as most of us use it. I agree to that my photographer friends no doubt have the feeling of connectedness to their work that sketch artists do.

    You are a wordsmith, and you use the English language to capture moments in time - maybe a little sketchbook would give you an extra tool in your kit!

  3. Beautiful sketches Dave! And the way you describe the memories that sketching creates makes me wish I had an ounce of artistic ability! What joy it must give you to be able to sketch as you travel to these amazing historic places. It seems you are living your dream!

    Stacy Rogers

    1. Thanks, Statz!

      I am living my dream - I am a lucky man.

  4. Wonderful blog Dave! My blog has gone by the wayside as of late...I think my last post was about a year and a half ago! Seems my author & illustrator passions have dwindled over the last few years, never really had much support from my publisher though...such is life in the book business I suppose.

    Things are really going great guns for you though, that is great!!! Keep your blog going and here's to continued success for a truly gifted and talented artist!!

    Take care
    Greg Budig

    1. Greg,

      I am sorry to hear your author/illustrator passions have dwindled, but I know what you mean. It's brutal out there!
      I do hope you continue, to one degree or another.

      Thanks for the kind words.

  5. Dave,
    Sorry you had to hear me whine! Just going through a creative block it seems.

    I found some old book dummies I hadn't seen in years...they weren't too bad. Maybe I'll try to rework one of them to get back on track again.

    take care