“Memorial Day Parade” Pencil Sketch

pencil sketch of parade

Memorial Day Parade, pencil © B. E. Kazmarski

While I love to paint Carnegie’s quaint Main Street and neighborhoods to capture their depth and color for our annual art exhibit, “Carnegie Painted”, I also try to find at least one subject that others may not see, and render it in a less-common medium or I don’t often use to give the image a different feeling for myself and for viewers.

I’m not a big fan of holiday parades—not that I dislike them, I just don’t find them as interesting as others do, especially after a few years of seeing the same parade…but my mother has always liked them so I take her to Carnegie’s parades when I can because she grew up here and no doubt attended every parade there was to be seen. And even if an event isn’t something I care for, I’ll participate to be a part of our community.

And while I can find subject matter for photographs and artwork anywhere I go, a parade is a gold mine full of images.

I had intended to paint something in pastel or acrylic of the parade this particular year because the sun was so bright and the uniforms, flags, sign and balloons were so colorful. But from other influences I saw this pencil sketch in the parade that year. We typically have several re-enactment groups as well as veterans of various conflicts, but for the first time in Carnegie’s parade we had World War II re-enactors. The sight of the guys in their tan uniforms driving a Jeep with no doors or roof brought back the memories of all those WWII movies I had watched, and all the stories my mother had told me of life during the war, and the photos of my father in uniform, and the cartoon style of Bill Mauldin, who brought the story right from the front lines in images those on the front and back at home still remember.

So I chose an image, not the WWII re-enactors, but one that simply looked like what I remembered of the parade—the marchers, the citizens watching and waving, the buildings on Main Street, the bright sky, and tried to bring it to life in pencil in a looser, more illustrative style.

I actually sketched this from using a photograph, though I found I only used it for some of the details; I remembered this image and I’ve seen the parade so many times.

Prints and Note Cards

You can read more about this sketch on my website as part of my My Home Town series of paintings and sketches from Carnegie Painted.  It’s also available in my online Marketplace as a print and a note card, or if you are local to me I actually have these on display in my shop in Carnegie, in the back room at Carnegie Antiques, 423 West Main Street.

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