One of our online class assignments suggested by Danny Gregory was an exercise in textures and contours, heavy on the details. He had us taking a crumpled paper currency (dollar, euro, whatever) and sketch it, being mindful of the outline, the details, the shadows and facets. The students posted a wonderful array of offerings, many of foreign currencies to the U.S. dollar, and many were beautifully detailed and colored. I was struck again at how beautiful foreign currency was compared to ours. One student wondered why the U.S. paper money always looked like it had been designed and issued by the Army. She was right. Compared to other country's bills, ours looks stern, official and drab. Warlike. Institutional. That of other countries are arrayed in iridescent colors, festooned with symbols and engravings of beauty, cultural pride and heritage. Often with women as honored heads of state, past or present.
I dug through boxes I knew contained old coins and foreign bills from my previous husband's travels abroad, and could not find those pretty monies I thought I'd seen there once. But there was a 1928 issue One Silver Dollar, a genuine Silver Certificate. In remarkable condition! It wasn't any prettier than what we have today, but it was different. A little museum artifact. I wasn't about to crumple it and do it harm, but I put a slight, chevron crease in it, so there'd be contrasting shadow. And in honor of our teacher, I slipped Danny's face under old George's powdered wig. This current Sketchbook Skool Kourse (their term) is referred to as BootKamp. It was certainly an interesting exercise. As we are all finding out, you never really see anything truly until you stop to sketch it. It then imprints in your mind in a way it hadn't ever before.