January 19, and it’s 61 degrees? Damn right I’m going to take advantage of the weather! My sketchbook and I pedaled 17 miles out to Smithville Lake, then took the bike path another ten miles or so. I had to dodge large patches of ice covering many of the northern-facing hillsides, which really translates out to: “push my bike and attempt to stay upright.” I took a break along the way to make this sketch, finding a bench that blocked the brutal winds coming across the water, then turned around and pedaled home.

It’s been a few weeks since I last posted anything new to The Early Morning Cyclist and I’m kind of going out on a limb here. I’ve always found it very easy to document my cycling journeys and experiences on two wheels with the camera – very easy indeed. I photographed professionally for many years and even though that is no longer a part of my day-to-day career, using a camera is, nevertheless, a very immediate process. What has bothered me a little bit over the past couple of years is the loss of tactility in my work. I carry a sketchbook and it is almost cathartic for me at times to simply lay lines down on the page, to capture some element of where I am at a particular moment or what I am doing there. And it occurs to me that is precisely the same motivation for this blog.

So I say that I’m going out on a limb. And – at least for the time being – my plan is to skip photographs as the main visual graphic for each entry in The Early Morning Cyclist. Instead I’m going to try to illustrate my point – presuming I actually have one, of course – with sketches made on the journey. Even a quickly scribbled sketch means studying my subject for longer than 1/60 of a second. Savoring the minutes, the place, the time.

And if that isn’t at the heart of why I cycle in the first place, I don’t know what is.


6 thoughts on “Scribbling.

  1. I heartily approve of this “all drawering” approach. I haven’t really said much, but I’ve enjoyed your sketches on flickr. And it reminds me I need to get out there and sketch myself…

    • You know, I’ve made so many photographs over the last couple of decades that I feel like people have forgotten that my reputation was originally built upon my drawing and design. More importantly, I don’t want to forget or lose sight of this fact myself.

    • And if ever this snow goes away and leaves us with even the dreariest of days, I’ll most certainly be adding more. Until then, I’m left to live vicariously and stare out the window.

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