Kilroy the Observer

Note: I mistakenly entitled this post, “Gilroy the Observer”, originally. Thanks to Liz Barrett for setting me straight. The real name for this character was Kilroy. I can only attribute my error to the fact that I live next to the Garlic Capital of the World, Gilroy, California. A natural mistake when one gets to my age. Apologies, and thanks for your indulgence.

Today’s watercolor experiment:

I used a straight edge and compass to start today’s composition. I drew two partial circles to create an ‘S’ shape, and a small circle on the upper right portion of the paper. I did not know where it would lead until I thought of drawing a ‘V’ shape, which I did, with lines tangent to the small circle. Later I completed the contours of the circles.

During World War II, a popular piece of graffiti was ‘Kilroy was here’, together with a partial view of a face, which seemed to be looking over a fence. I understand this to be a way to bear witness. This is the sense in which I used this figure in the composition below.

I used the ‘V’ as a design element. Everything outside the cone of the ‘V’, I painted in dark tones. Within the outline of the ‘V’ I painted bright colors, as if it were a shaft of light.  Kilroy is looking in from the darkness as an observer, to bear witness about what he sees.

Watercolor: Circles and Triangle with Gilroy Looking In

Gilroy Was Here
12″x16″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block

Perhaps Kilroy should look around him… But that’s another story.


6 thoughts on “Kilroy the Observer

  1. Here we say ‘Kilroy was here’. My dad once told me that Kilroy was an electrician (or similar) who would scrawl that sentence in locations he had already checked wiring (or whatever it was he was employed to do). So it was a way of communicating to other members of the team – a sort of quality assurance procedure. I’ve no idea whether Dad’s account is correct but he worked as a colliery electrician underground so I thought it a plausible account. I suppose it might have developed into the eyes peering from a half moon head that we are so familiar with – as you have it here in your sketch. It looks a bit like the top of a minion 🙂

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