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Dunlavey/Bakal Sketchbook 2007-2009

APRIL 27, 2009
2007? Was it 2007 when Scott Bakal and I first talked about sharing a sketchbook? Seems like it wasn't that long ago. Oh well. I DO remember there were lulls in the action and subsequent flurries of fast-paced catching up because I'd held on to the book too long.

left: we'd post little notes to each other mostly to be civil. These got pasted or taped inside the covers with other more lengthy notes, train tickets and post office ephemera. Some of these elements got recycled into the final pages.

The whole thing started out kind of slowly as we built a critical mass of marks, textures, forms, methods of applying media. Gradually, pictures got settled. Some were rather obvious; others not until the last moment when we were ready to be finished with the project. Below are a few of my favorite pages with some commentary.

I think we both collaborated on the overall head concept on the right page. It looked awkward though and unsatisfying. Various attempts at isolating the head only served to highlight it's generally muddled presentation. I think Scott connected the eye to the left page and eventually he painted the irregular blue bands on top. At this point, the picture's needs became clear and I added the collage elements to rescue the face of the man.
This one started with some cartooney elements that just weren't working. One of those elements was an alligator. I got disgusted with that direction so I painted the things out with yellow and gray. A few days later I added a realistic alligator (in black china marker) in this tortured pose. And then the picture was basically done. Scott had nothing to add for a long time. Finally, at the end, he found a new way to contribute with the red dots
Four separate pages that that are equal combinations of both our problem-solving strategies.The figurative ones all involved abstract painting and mark-making. Usually (I think?) I would isolate a profile out of the blobs of marks and scratches. That would stabilize the concept and we'd then tinker on and off for months. Usually Scott had a real knack for finishing images so that our voices were both equally distinguishable. I'm still trying to get used to the red blobs on the crow painting though. I like them but I'd thought that that image was done. But Scott had a different idea… and so it goes!
This one got finished early on. My contribution was the large blocks of color and the black stenciled figures. We started designing spreads pretty quickly. Scott's signature organic line work stitches the painting together. In some ways, the most satisfying pages were the ones that went back and forth constantly as we searched for a way to help each other make a satisfying composition while attempting to put our own individual stamp on it. Below, you can see the book in its entirety.