I started this project as a way to encourage myself to get back to basics, drawing. It began as an exercise, after focusing on painting for a long time, to restart my hand-eye connection. As soon as I started, the intention expanded. I was captured by the challenge of finding and illustrating variations of the theme, City Lights. Then, I saw that the paintings, though small, could carry some weight. This is now a sketchbook of experiments. The sketches developed further than I intended, the painting techniques were unplanned and unfamiliar, painting on paper was a new experience. The paint is acrylic, my usual, but this is the first project in which I've used those paints in watercolor-style applications. The first couple of pages are simply trials of the paper and paint, flexing the wrist -- but, also, testing a new pen that proved to be fun, but not appropriate for most of the sketchbook subjects, although it does reappear in a few small uses. Some of the subjects are not so much city lights as lights of the city, that is, symbols illuminating events and people. There is also humor. More than one-half of the pictures are of places I've visited and that mean something to me. In my art, I need a narrative, not just a pretty picture. The image could be anything, a person, place, or event, but it has to say something and have personal importance. So, the surprise has been just how intriguing and expressive this small book could be. It has become a greater investment than I expected, and it has prompted new ideas for more projects.
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