Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Maestro Bagwell

Here’s a page from my “Face Book.” The faces are from the Bard College Symphonic Chorus in New York State. The figure is the conductor, James Bagwell.
Maestro Bagwell is the dynamo behind Bard’s choral music program. He paces across the stage with all the brooding intensity of Beethoven. When he turns to face the audience, he bends forward stiffly, mouth tight, cheeks puffing out, unable to mask his passion for the music. When the music turns lyrical, he melts and looks as if he were holding a baby.

Sitting in the audience with my sketchbook in my lap, I was nervous that sketching might be as distracting as coughing, so I tried not to bob my head up and down, and I worked very small. I had only a few seconds to observe his pose, remember it, and then try to jot it down in the tiny book.

9 comments:

sylvia said...

Good starting for a film...
Imagine a world where design would be forbidden...

As in french SF film Fahrenheit 451 by François TRUFFAUT : at those times books were
forbidden and people burn them...So lots of people did learn by heart their books and hide in the forests to escape...

sylvia
arimathee.blogspot.com

James Gurney said...

Fascinating idea, Sylvia. Sketching often must happen secretly or discreetly. On the subway, for example. Or these days around nuclear plants or airports, I suppose.

But some artists have risked their lives to sketch. When Frederic Church traveled to Petra in the 1870s, an artist who had traveled through there just before him was killed.

Dean H. said...

Hi, James! Great blog! I found ya through Maggie Stiefvater's blog. All I can say is you have gained another reader...I'll check in every day.

James Gurney said...

Welcome, Dean, and all other new readers. I appreciate you making time to read my blog, and I'll try to give you something you can use every day.

Eric Orchard said...

Wonderful, your sketches are some of my favorite things that you post as your books are quite polished and this gives a real insight to your work. My wife sings in the church choir and the director has great taste, lots of Tallis and Bach and Faure, and I love to sit and sketch them.
Happy new year, James, I wish you and your family much success and happiness this year.

sylvia said...

Grateful Thanks James....probably this was difficult for David Roberts and William Petrie too... However lots of country improve thier views about figuration....Consider, in Dubai, at the American University Arts are taught....

there 's a friend of mine : Marcelo Lima
http://www.panoptikon.net
http://introdrawingandpainting.blogspot.com

and also Michael Bray....

Kevin Hedgpeth said...

I think the best character design reference comes from observational drawing. Human beings offer up such intriguing visual and anatomical combinations that most artists would be hard pressed to concoct such individuality from the aether.

Rob said...

I really enjoy your blog. I related to today's post on sketching people. As a frequent business traveller, I find it very rewarding to catch people waiting for flights in my watercolor sketch book. Sometimes, I get my best inspiration from these unsuspecting souls.
Rob
robburkhard.com

Amy said...

Dear James Gurney,

This isn't relevant to your topic, I apologize. I wanted to ask: in Journey to Chandara, you have a picture of a feather -- a blackish feather with many white spots. I found the same feather years ago in a park here in British Columbia and have never been able to identify it. Do you know what bird it comes from?

Thank you,
Amy