The school year has begun and once again I’ll be engaged in a valiant effort to balance my time in the classroom, time with family, art making, and the more leisure activities in my life – cycling and working on bikes. Sometimes I’m even successful at doing so.
Today I managed to combine several of those things when my wife and I took our bikes to Pleasant Hill, Missouri for an unhurried ride along our State’s newest rail trail, the Rock Island Trail. A favorite bike that I like to bring when I travel anywhere is the Bernard Carre I acquired earlier this year, particularly because it fits me very well and easily accomodates 700 x 35 Compass tires. Before loading the bikes into the Subaru this morning, I added a Carradice Super C handle bar bag so I could carry a sketchbook and a couple of pens.
The trail is entirely flat and an easy ride; the crushed limestone – despite heavy rains last night – was in fine condition. While the morning sun was still low on the horizon, the path was cloaked in shadow from the canopy of trees that border the path. As morning waned though, the sun eventually moved directly overhead and we were soon wet with perspiration.
I stopped along the way to sketch and explore. The small towns always interest me, as do the places I discover while wandering: automotive relics, ramshackle houses, an enormous bull lying beside the path.
I like the graphic quality of this approach. Strong lights and darks remind me of how some of my favorite European underground cartoonists from the 70’s made their drawings. (Uni-Ball Deluxe, Kuretake No. 40 brush pen, Canson 180 sketchbook – approximately 5 x 7 inch page size.)