Work in Progress, But a Different Sort

I was invited to do the cover art for a Virgin Islands-centric publication that’s widely circulated in the territory. Two separate covers- one for October, one for November.

The editor had a general topic in mind  and left the execution to me. The subject incorporates our amazing stilt dancers called “ Mocko Jumbies ” known as our Guardians of Culture.

B&W jumbie

Pencil sketch for the angular poses and foreshortening I was looking for.

They loom 12 feet over the crowds on 5-6 foot stilts and parade down cobbled streets with agility the rest of us couldn’t know of in sneakers.

I’ll post the finished piece and the official cover after it goes to publication.

But I enjoyed the process of sketching out ideas, working out color placements, and experimenting with mediums and techniques that I haven’t used in years.

jumbie watercolor study

Watercolor sketch for color and perspective ideas…

B&W cover with headingWorking out some scale and composition ideas. Exaggeration is good for eye appeal.

jumbie gouache color

Gouache on canvas- a new combination of effects. Lots of experimenting on cotton canvas panels before going for the finished piece.

Now I’m starting on the second cover- different theme.

Aiming for productivity despite the cutest damn puppy ever:

belly up

AND, the looming threat of Tropical Storm Bill, churning up the Eastern Atlantic, moving towards, we hope, not us.

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19 Responses to “Work in Progress, But a Different Sort”

  1. maryschwalm Says:

    Congratulations Bonnie, that’s excellent!! Oooooh, that puppy is so cute, best of luck in the triumph for productivity!

  2. Donald Diddams Says:

    Cover art! How great… unfortunately, we don’t get to see until October. The mocko jumbies will make a great image. So is the theme for November “puppy love”?

  3. w1kkp Says:

    I bow from the waist…these are fabulous…from the line sketch of the dancer, the abstraction, the flexibility all there in such simplicity of line and dreamy background. And, then, bam! gouache on canvas—YEOW! I feel the sea breezes, I’m reaching for one of those parasol drinks, the folks in the territories will know why they want to live there after looking at this! All this and Clouds, too. He must be good for you.

  4. Carol King Says:

    Love how you showed the different steps to getting to where you wanted to be with your cover art. I’ve seen the Mocko Jumbies in person in St. Croix and you’ve captured them perfectly.

    How’s that beautiful little Cloud?

  5. Bonnie Luria Says:

    Thanks Don- you and Sue can see in person if you come over.
    Then you’ll know how accurately they interpret the color match in the printing.
    November isn’t puppy love but perhaps Cloud should be the cover girl for the February issue. I’d be her Valentine.

    Pat-as always, your perfectly descriptive phrases and praises.
    It’s good for us to stretch out of our own bounds and try something different. It’s working for YOU, I can say that!
    Yes, that Cloud muse- she is the muffin-est muffin.

    Carol- that’s right, you’ve seen them at our favorite place, soon to be visited again.
    Did you notice some similarities in the use of gouache to your watercolor in the finish? Hmm, I’m eager now to try the second cover after working out the properties of water based paint.
    I really like the richness and malleability of gouache.
    Maybe a new series……..

    About Cloud? I feel like I’m the shepherd of a mythical angel.
    Does that just about describe her being?

  6. Jala Pfaff Says:

    Absolutely mind-blowing sketches!! “Mocko jumbies”–what a strange name!

    Ah, my little Pigletta! She looks blissed-out. Like she’s on…cloud nine.

  7. JoAnn Sanborn Says:

    Great opportunity! The lines and colors in the sketchs have such a wonderful freedom, just like the jumbies expressing themselves. Can’t wait for the finish. Thinking of you and wishing you fair winds and not too much rain!

  8. Marian Fortunati Says:

    Left other comments on FB… but forgot to mention…. Keeping my fingers crossed that the hurricane fizzes out.

  9. NOEL Says:

    Cloud actually looks like a prawn.

  10. Bonnie Luria Says:

    Jala- the name refers to a ” mocking ” of the spirits, meant to keep away the sinister ones. Whenever something goes missing here, like the spatula you just put down, or the pad you had in your hands, it’s attributed to ” Jumbies “.

    Maybe there’ll be one in your room when you come….
    And the pigletta you describe, seems to garner other ridiculously appropriate descriptions as I now see my son thinks she looks more like a prawn….

    JoAnn, oooh you said the magic word to me: Freedom!
    That’s what doing these sketches helped me see. And find.
    Starting on the other one today, inbetween thunder, lightening, power outages but good rain. NO wind.
    I think of you too….

    Marian- thanks, I find you everywhere and anywhere you leave your imprint.
    So far, we’re fine. Thank You.

  11. planetross Says:

    Congrats on the covers!

    Mocko Jumbies sound like a tall order from a stilted perspective.

    (best I could do)

  12. Mary Sheehan Winn Says:

    I’m a fool for a pencil sketch, anyway, but these are delightful!
    Kudos to you for landing such a prominent spot for your art!!
    The puppy is just the sweetest!

  13. 100 paintings Says:

    Great news! Congratulations. Sketches look great but can’t wait to see the final product.
    in anticipation,

  14. wrjones Says:

    There is some thing really appealing about that top sketch. You have captured a difficult subject in an eye arresting manner.

  15. Bonnie Luria Says:

    Ross- wooden you know, your best is so very funny.

    Mary- thanks for stopping by- love your new onion duo.

    100 Paintings- hi and welcome. The finished covers will be ready in early October.

    Bill- these guys ( a few are gals but mostly guys ) are so mysteriously captivating and as you’d imagine, a favorite subject for painters here and throughout the West Indies.
    I still get goosebumps when they perform at events .

  16. Nancy Moskovitz Says:

    Hi Bonnie
    I’m back, Bill is gone, and you’re up to something new and fabulous. Jumbies, huh? I’m pretty sure they hold their family reunions at my house. Now….. where are my bifocals this time?

  17. Sharon Crute Says:

    Fantastic drawings! What feel for swervey motion…

  18. Eldon Says:

    I can hardly wait to see what comes out of this project. You’re gonna knock em dead I have no doubt.

  19. solvay Says:

    …delightful: seeing the origins of the November cover – – – love, Love, LOVE the sketches. …no idea why I am so moved by sketches, but I am.

    Thanks, as always.

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