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John S. Dykes
FIRST AT FENWAY
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“You’ve never been to Fenway Park?!!” - I moved to the Boston area in 2004 - to Sudbury - the town where Babe Ruth lived - and allegedly pitched a piano into a pond across from his house. (Just how do you pitch a piano, anyway?). (More on that one: here).
Unable to acquire four tickets to bring the family, I did succeed in getting one ticket.... So finally in July, I made it to Fenway Park and saw my first Red Sox game - with only a sketchbook and camera and a desire to strike right out and create a painting of the place. This was a working game!
I arrived the mandatory few hours prior to game time to wander around outside the park. Yawkey Way gets closed to traffic. Vendors, fans and an occasional illustrator take it all in. Sausages, hot dogs, pastrami sandwiches, beer, and souvenirs. What else is there in life?
The crowds and characters provide a rich visual resource. Much of the excitement and interest in events such as this come from the life and action and happenings surrounding the main event (as Paul Rogers succinctly pointed out in a recent Drawger post).
I drew from my seat as a way to study details and nuances. Some details might not be clear by working from photos alone. I took about 100 photos, and 5 pages of sketchbook notes and drawings.
Here are some photos I took for reference. I enjoy approaching interesting people, telling them I am creating a painting and wish to (possibly) include them. I show a sample or two of my work to provide some context as to why this artist wants to ask questions and take pictures. With only a single exception, all readily agreed. So many nice folks.... I also take phone numbers or email addresses so I can contact them and send them a copy of the final piece.
The personal, human interaction is a tangible source of energy that feeds the creative spirit like nothing else. After gathering reference and working on ideas, I cannot wait to get back into the studio to start the final piece.
The stadium scene is painted in acrylic, and the figures were drawn separately with ink and brush on anything from sketchbook paper to cardboard.

I hope to travel the U.S.A to create a series of ballpark paintings such as this one, with an eye on a book project or calendar. Going... going... GONE!....(painting).



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Dykes is teaching at TutorMill, an online mentoring site for students of illustration!