For most of the other lines I’ve quoted in this Sketchbook Project, my starting point has been the poem or text followed by the illustration. In this case, it was the other way round.
While I was out and about yesterday, I realised it had been a long time since I’d drawn or painted any flowers, so I went in search of some suitable models. I couldn’t find anything inspiring, so headed back to the car.
I had to go past an old-fashioned fishmonger’s on the way, and it occurred to me that I could buy a fish to draw. The white-coated young chap asked if he could help. I asked if he could move the ice off the mackerel so I could choose one with the best markings. He looked a little nervous at this point. Evidently, a madwoman had entered his shop. So I explained I didn’t want a fish to eat, but to draw. Then he looked really nervous. Anyway, I found precisely the one I wanted, paid and left. (Ironic, when you read the poem.)
When I got home, I searched for a poem about mackerel, conscious that the last spread of the sketchbook was waiting, emptily. I was delighted to find this one by Mark Doty, who it turns out, had also been inspired by the fantastic colours of these fish on display.
The sketchbook is now done (including the back page, below) and will be ready to post off in the morning. I have really enjoyed doing this project, as the skinny paper has forced me to try pencil, inks, coloured pencil and collage instead of watercolour on thick and thirsty cushiony pages. Going back to pencil has been a joy, a really meditative process. I shall definitely be doing more.
Thank you so much for all your visits and supportive comments along the way.