Bob Dylan and Joan Baez
- Group of 7 Ink Portrait and Self-Portrait Sketches [Woodstock: Summer 1963]
Hoskyns, Barney. Small Town Talk. New York: 2016
The summer of 1963 was the beginning of the famous Dylan-Baez romance, and the early courtship included a trip to see Dylan’s manager Albert Grossman in Bearsville. Dylan was keen to take his Triumph motorcycle on the famously twisting Catskill roads, often ending his sessions at the local Café Expresso owned by Mary and Bernard Paturel. Mary recalls a Dylan that was unusually relaxed, “… smiling, shy, witty… " Bobby Zimmerman, rather than Bob Dylan. One day he brought in Joan Baez and the two began sketching.
“Killing another afternoon at the Café Espresso, Joan and bob decided to draw portraits of each other in the notepad Dylan often carried to jot lines for songs or poems as they came to him. They took turns posing. For a while, Bob sat at a three-quarter angle from Joan, gazing pensively to one side, and Joan captured his likeness in a skillfully drafted sketch, he projected great seriousness, and she reflected it with formal precision. On her turn to pose, Joan made a buck-toothed funny face, as she had been doing for years at the sight of a camera lens, and Bob scrawled a few lines that suggested her in Thurber cartoon style. Posing again, Joan scowled and stuck out her tongue, and Bob scribbled a drawing, along with some words below her mouth: BAH DA BAH BOMB BOMB BOMB. The drawings were nearly identical to their music—Baez’s accomplished, formal, nuanced, and austere, Dylan’s spontaneous, naïve, piercing, and fearless. At one point, Bob or Joan suggested that they draw themselves, which was easy for Baez. She used to sketch herself to pass time in high school and knew how to produce a profile of herself in proficient style of a sidewalk charcoal artist. On his turn, Bob drew the scantest suggestion of a face, with a preposterously enormous hook nose…” (Hadju)
The relaxed and romantic scene was not last. These were the days that would influence Baez’s pained “Diamonds and Rust” with Dylan in Woodstock “standing with brown leaves falling all around and leaves in your hair.”