Sunday, May 25, 2014



Normally, I am always happy to go to Market, whatever may betide, but with a guitar and harp – not a drawing pencil and sketch pad!  

Cap-a-pie I wore my black and white checker bowler (purchased at Madame Yes in Regina), a long-sleeved crisp white shirt with a collar (purchased in Paris), a pair of short pants (purchased in Amsterdam), and my Barcelona sandals.  (Subliminally, I was an artist of international renown.) 

Mise-en-scene I rolled out a matt, put some sample portraits on display, beside which I set up two camp stools, one for the consumer, one for the artist. 

My first hour at the market was a flounder, compensated by time spent visiting my neighbor vendors – there was no action at my draw-site!  I had angst going to the market, and sitting and standing around without any consumers was not, at all, therapeutic.

Finally!  A smiling young lady asks if I can draw a portrait of her four month old son.  Yikes!  I had not thought about drawing toddlers!

My first paying customer -- it was time for me put my pencil to paper and impress! Kaiven, the four month old son, wriggled around and around, as did I to keep his visage in my line of pencil sight.   

That is so like him, I love it!” the young mother said when I finished.  Though my mat display reads, PENCIL PORTRAITS $10.00, she gave me twenty dollar bill, insisting I keep the $10.00 tip!  Kaiven and his mom proved to by the anodyne for my morning market angst.

Then along came barbate John.                          

Will you draw me? “he asked.  John, 67 years old, is a retired provincial public servant.  Because of his unusual tam and signature beard, John presented to me as being the archetype of the easy draw.  John loved his portrait and told me he was going to advertise for me, vocally, as he strolled down the market! (With permission I took his picture with my iPhone.)


Mother and daughter, Kerry and Kaitlyn, from Saskatoon, asked if I could draw them together on one page. 

"Of course," I replied (never having expected this).  This happy twosome was in Regina at a hockey tournament, and hockey was our chat about for the 20 minutes it took me draw them.  I love talking hockey and they loved their finished product!

Another toddler, Marcus!  Marcus, like toddler Kaiven, wriggled around and around.  Even so, I did manage to complete his portrait in about ten minutes.  Both his mom and grandmother loved it, and gave me a $10.00 tip!  I now know that toddlers mean tips -- I shall remember this for next week when I again take my pencil to market! (With permission, I took a picture of Marcus on my iPhone.)


Several portraits later I had the pleasure of meeting two thirty-year olds, Courtney and Steve.  What a treat!  Both were from the city of Regina, and both were contemplating ditching their present jobs and moving to Banff (my kind of people, my kind of adventure)!  Courtney’s beatific smile was worth a gazillion dollars, and this chat, in particular, was a glorious way to end my day at the market. 

Drat!  I had forgotten to take their picture on my iPhone!  As I packed my bag, I thought maybe if I strolled through the market I would find them!  No such luck.   

A lesson learned, I thought to myself.  Exiting the market and walking down Victoria Avenue, I noticed the two of them sipping drinks on the outdoor coffee patio at Atlantis!  I approached them and they consented to have their picture taken for this blog!  This is PHENOMENOLOGY!

Could doing these pencil portraits be the apex of my busking career, or just another piece in my busking bildungsroman?  Hmm ... drawing portraits seems more debonair than thrumming a guitar.  Guitar busking compared to pencil portraiture is like comparing a flivver to a Ferrari.

Having spent just one morning drawing pencil portraits I’ve gained considerable marketing insight. For example, chubby cheeks and double chins are in for toddlers, out for adults.  Mothers find such embonpoint adorable; whereas, plumb adults desire pencil surgery, and shall judge their portraits accordingly.  Contributing to consumer vanity pays higher and heartfelt dividends.

Drawing pencil portraits at the market is really a maxixe, a two-step dance of accomplished drawing techniques whilst engaging the consumer in delightful conversation.  If a third step were to be included in this dance of the draw, it would be time.  In just one morning I’ve discovered that ten minutes seems the perfect number of minutes allotted for the portraits.  The longer it takes, more photograph-like the expectation.

Hmmm … all of the above is what I think I know.   

Hmmm … this is what I do know …

The pencil never lies!

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