Sketch book, no cover,
bound; 14" height, 10"
width. First page: sketch of
Lamar Dodd and notes from his first watercolor lecture.
1976 marked my second semester of graduate
school at the
University of Georgia. My art history
studies continued with the addition of another course with Mr.
Dodd in watercolor.
This would be my first watercolor
Mr. Dodd was insistent that
take this course with
him- to the extent that he paid for my
(expensive) watercolor supplies.
After my first semester with Mr. Dodd, I had learned a new
technique of drawing.
closer to a
gestural technique than the contour outline
technique familiar to me
from study with Tucker Cooke. In Mr.
Dodd's drawing class from the first semester,
an epiphany to me one day to discover what Delacroix called
"drawing from the
inside out." The freedom of this new
type of drawing also allowed for the abandonment
of the dominant single
directional shading. This newfound freedom
allowed me not only a
expressive "mark" but
be expressive, as
However, watercolor was new to me.
To translate that new found freedom
of "gestural energy" into
good watercolor technique was
difficult. I find that most of my watercolors from
this course are lacking;
clumsy; inconsistent. This sketch book
reflects the struggle I had with
For this second semester,
had moved to a large house shared
by several students, most of
them art students, and most of them
were bound for Cortona for the
coming summer. That was my
plan, as well.
Here I should
note, on a personal level, that this
is the ending of the Joe
"Error," and the
of Error" of Tom. "Things" went from bad to
absurd. Portraits of
both these young men are found
Drawings of note:
Page 1: A quick sketch
Mr. Dodd. He had come out of retirement
to teach again at the age of
80. He was quite a distinguished
looking man—a full head of solid white
hair, deep blue eyes, somber
tone of voice—someone
much knowledge and few words. Rarely would he
to us; instead, he
would pace slowly around the room, sometimes
pipe, and using
the pipe as a kind of
pointer when he needed a point to be made. I
never tired of his
talks. They were a constant reference to art
history—to specific artists from ancient
prehistory to modern day.
stressed the study of
art history as a companion/guide to
our own efforts. I understood him and agreed with
I was an
had not made a direct step from undergraduate
school to graduate school.
art history. It was not difficult for me to
suggestions. For the most part, other
didn't get it.
Page 3: One
attempt to "rein"
in the fluidity of the watercolor by the use
of graphite line.
Clumsy and uncomfortable were the best
words I could use to describe this new beginning.
Page 9: As this was my own
personal sketch book, above and beyond
required for the
would take refuge in my new manner
of drawing in the strong gestural
technique I had just
previously learned. It
provided an outlet for my frustrations
Page 15: A gestural interpretation of El Greco's "Toledo."
The marks become more
expressive; far from
the "safe" vertical tonal
shading in earlier sketch books. The mark itself takes on
these early works. Too,
find a more sculptural approach to
the forms by the use of hatching and cross-hatching. This was
quite liberating for me.
Page 20: Art history began to really teach me. This Cezanne
St. Victoire is, to
me, a study in energy and
control of energy.
Page 25: The gate house entry to the Biltmore Estate in
I see that I
have timed myself: twelve minutes.
There is not, necessarily, precision,
but there is a
presence. Had I continued
with the drawing, as
found with many gestural drawings
in future, I would
become precise but with a
strong gestural base.
Pages 26 and 29: Portraits
Page 45: I was learning to
over again; with freedom and
with the discipline
The town of Athens was such a
pitiful study for a landscape;
try as I might.
Page 62: As Tom spent
lot of time reading, he was an
excellent subject for portraiture.
difference between this technique of
portraiture and those
earlier sketch books,
say of 1972 and '73.
Page 72: As far
distinction. He had a full
head of thick reddish-brown hair,
distinct nose, a thick mustache and
even with a few strokes
the watercolor brush, monochromatic
though it may be,
felt I could still capture his
Page 79: Coming from a
strong biblical background, that of a Baptist with my father
being a minister
that faith, religious subject matter
interested me, especially
had been interpreted
in forms that
repeated themselves across the
centuries—from Early Christian to as late as the Baroque
At this time
listened again and again to Andrew
Lloyd Weber's "Jesus Christ, Superstar" and saw
variation of those formulas. From
the "Last Supper" to the caring caress of Mary Magdalene, Weber
all in his rock musical. He
took the myth and brought it closer
least a logical
reality. This quick sketch
represents the disciples's
supposed prostitute) touch him. And
interpretation of the
scripture toward Jesus for the use of such expensive
she "soothed" Jesus's aches, pains, and
fatigue; "the money could
used to help the poor," says
Judas (?), the tension building
between these two characters in the opera.
For most of my life, the dogma of conservative Christianity
had been pressed upon
me, without explanation, without
illustration (I came to envy Catholics in that they would have
grown up in a church
with paintings and sculpture). "Jesus
Christ, Superstar," which I listened to numerous
times, reviewing visually
the whole Christian story, was also an
epiphany at this particular time. New visual interpretations of
"standard" Christian iconography would feed many of my sketch
books from this