Sunday, July 21, 2013

Joshua Dukes, Musician

On Friday night at a pub in East Durham, New York I painted Josh "Papa" Dukes as he played traditional Irish music with the band called "The Yanks.

In his other life, Joshua Dukes is also a Master Sergeant in the U.S. Army and a drum major in the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, the official escort to the President. (He's at the center of this video)

 My perspective was pretty close up, since my seat was right beside him. My sketchbook, watercolor paints, water cup, rag, and casein paints are all in my lap. That's my son Dan playing accordion on the far left.

I had one failed start, which you can see below in the center of Step 1. This is a lay-in of someone else that didn't work out because my subject moved to another pose. No problem--I just shifted gears, wetted out the lines, and dove into the new portrait, painting over the other one.

When Josh switched from flute to bouzouki, I started a second sketch, since the pose was so different.

I was using watercolor and water-soluble colored pencils for the warm colors, and casein for the white and black. Most of this painting is transparent, but casein gave me opacity where I needed it. Most of the painting was done with a very large sable watercolor brush. The whole study took about 45 minutes.
Bio of Joshua Dukes
Fife and Drum Corps
The Yanks Band
Previously: Dan, Accordion


Tom Hart said...
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Tom Hart said...

Thanks for a very instructive post and for sharing another great sketch. Also, thanks for answering the questions that are always on most of our minds: material, time, mixture of media, etc.

It's especially nice that you shared the part about the missed pose that you painted over. As in a couple of earlier posts (I'm thinking particularly of the gouache sketch of the line of plein aire painters), it's good to see that an aborted sketch doesn't necessarily mean a wasted page in the sketchbook or a missed chance to start over.

Keith Parker said...

It's SEAN! James, I really enjoyed meeting you and Sean last month. seeing how he works was cool too. I guess he is now moved into his new place in your home town. I think it's great he was able to make that leap. Nice caricature of him there.

Gene Snyder said...


Great post! I like how you are able to switch gears and salvage a false start. Why fuss at the beginning? :)

It's a small world. When I was in the Army, I was stationed with the Old Guard from 1991-1993 as an illustrator in the Headquarters Drafting Office. Before computers, it was a mixed job of engraving plaques, cutting mats, framing photos, and prepping parade fields for ceremonies. To prep a ceremony site, we were the group that came in and marked where soldiers/platoons stood during ceremonies. Everything had to measured down to the inch!

During that time with TOG, I had the opportunity to paint two 20'x40' backdrops for the "Spirit of America" show.

If you have not already seen them, the Fife and Drum Corps is a must see group as well as the U.S. Army Drill Team. Precision performers.

Tell Josh "Thank you for your service."

Thanks again for a great art blog Jim!

-Gene (The "Army Artist Guy" from IMC)